I had the good fortune to be in Berlin, Germany last week on 9 November, 2014, the 25th anniversary of the “fall” of the Berlin Wall. I use the word “fall” loosely because the anniversary marks more the day of a blunder-filled press conference in which a state official accidentally permitted open travel across the border, “effective immediately,” than it does a day when the wall physically came down, 28 years after it was built and splitting Berlin into an East and a West.
It was a really special time to be in Berlin, knowing little-to-nothing about this momentous event that occurred within my lifetime (!). I think what struck me most was imagining what a life would be like spent 28 years inside of an impenetrable border, with absolutely no travel allowed. I couldn’t help but reflect upon all that I had seen and done with my life’s 28 years culminating up to that moment I stood in front of that Wall. Would I have been so desperate and brave to risk escaping a concrete cage?
Berlin celebrated the anniversary by tracing the path of the former wall across the city with glowing balloons the weekend leading up to 9 November. How casually we crossed from one side of the balloon wall to the other! After sundown on Sunday, to much fanfare, the balloons were released into the sky.