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  1. #1
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Default Berlin Wall: The 20th

    BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev crossed a former fortified border on Monday to cheers of "Gorby! Gorby!" as a throng of grateful Germans recalled the night 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall gave way to their desire for freedom and unity.

    http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/play...26714&src=news

    Within moments of a confused announcement on Nov. 9, 1989 that East Germany was lifting travel restrictions, hundreds of people streamed into the enclave that was West Berlin, marking a pivotal moment in the collapse of communism in Europe.

    Merkel, who grew up in East Germany and was one of thousands to cross that night, recalled that "before the joy of freedom came, many people suffered."

    She lauded Gorbachev, with whom she shared an umbrella amid a crush of hundreds, eager for a glimpse of the man many still consider a hero for his role in pushing reform in the Soviet Union.

    "We always knew that something had to happen there so that more could change here," she said.

    "You made this possible — you courageously let things happen, and that was much more than we could expect," she told Gorbachev in front of several hundred people gathered in light drizzle on the bridge over railway lines.

    Tears sprang to the eyes of Uwe Kross, a 65-year old retiree, who recalled seeing the start of the drama on Nov. 9, 1989 from his home, a block away from the bridge.

    "That night, you couldn't stop people," Kross said. "They lifted the barrier and everyone poured through.

    "We saw it first on TV, normally it was very quiet up here, but that night we could hear the footsteps of those crossing, tap, tap, tap."

    Kross was among those who crossed early on — so early that nobody was yet waiting on the other side when they reached the West. He recalled hopping on the first subway to then-West Berlin's main boulevard, the Kurfuerstendamm.

    "All hell was breaking loose there," Kross said.

    Merkel also welcomed Poland's 1980s pro-democracy leader, Lech Walesa, to the former crossing Monday, saying that his Solidarity movement provided "incredible encouragement" to East Germans.

    The leaders were joined by prominent former East Germans such as Joachim Gauck, an ex-pastor who later oversaw the archives of East Germany's secret police, the Stasi.

    "Those in government thought they were opening a valve, but once it was open much more happened," Gauck said of the border opening. "A collapse followed."

    The bridge crossing was one of a series of events marking Monday's anniversary of the border's opening after the wall kept East German citizens penned in for 28 years.

    Music from Bon Jovi and Beethoven was to recall the joy of the border's opening, which led to German reunification less than a year later and the swift demolition of most of the wall — which snaked for 96 miles (155 kilometers) around West Berlin, a capitalist enclave deep inside East Germany.

    Memorials also were planned to the 136 people killed trying to cross the border. Candles were lit and 1,000 towering plastic foam dominoes placed along the wall's route to be tipped over later Monday.

    Also expected in Berlin for the ceremonies were the leaders of all 27 European Union countries and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

    The wall's opening came hours after a botched announcement by a senior communist official on a cold, wet night in 1989.

    At the end of a plodding news conference, Politburo spokesman Guenter Schabowski offhandedly said East Germany was lifting restrictions on travel across its border with West Germany.

    Pressed on when the regulation would take effect, he looked down at his notes and stammered: "As far as I know, this enters into force ... this is immediately, without delay."

    Schabowski has said he didn't know that the change wasn't supposed to be announced until the following morning.

    East Berliners streamed toward border crossings. Facing huge crowds and lacking instructions from above, border guards opened the gates — and the wall was on its way into history.

    Merkel said she was among the East Germans who, hearing Schabowski's words, thought "something might happen on the evening of Nov. 9." Like many others, she made her way across.

    By the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Germany's division and then of its reunification, which for nearly three decades stood just behind the wall in no man's land, Dieter Mohnka, 74, and his wife Helga, 71, shared a bowl of French fries on Monday afternoon and recalled the night the wall was opened.

    "We were shocked when we heard that announced, simply astounded," said Helga. "The next morning we went straight to visit my aunt in the West."

    Dieter, a high school teacher at the time, said he had long been fascinated with West Germany.

    "I was born in East Germany, I went to school in East Germany. I was supposed to teach the kids about the wonderfulness of the East, when I was secretly watching TV from the West," he said.

    "This is not just a day of celebration for Germans," Merkel said. "This is a day of celebration for the whole of Europe; this is a day of celebration for all those people who have more freedom."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Good Enough VH Wahoo's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! graeme's Avatar
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    11.19.17 @ 09:41 AM
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    As you can imagine, this is THE topic in Germany this week. I can still remember watching these scenes with utter disbelief. It just didn't seem possible that the whole map of Europe could be redrawn, literally, overnight.

    Of course, it hasn't all been a fairy tale since, and the problems are ongoing, but I still feel that this is the biggest historical event I have so far witnessed in my life.
    A man could lose himself in a country like this.

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    Good Enough cabomiro's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 01:13 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by graeme View Post
    As you can imagine, this is THE topic in Germany this week. I can still remember watching these scenes with utter disbelief. It just didn't seem possible that the whole map of Europe could be redrawn, literally, overnight.

    Of course, it hasn't all been a fairy tale since, and the problems are ongoing, but I still feel that this is the biggest historical event I have so far witnessed in my life.
    Same here. We defected in 1987 from Czechoslovakia , knowing that we would never be ble to return . 2 years later the wall came down and everything changed. Happy to be able to see the family again.
    Cabo x 20
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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    12.16.17 @ 08:21 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by graeme View Post
    As you can imagine, this is THE topic in Germany this week. I can still remember watching these scenes with utter disbelief. It just didn't seem possible that the whole map of Europe could be redrawn, literally, overnight.

    Of course, it hasn't all been a fairy tale since, and the problems are ongoing, but I still feel that this is the biggest historical event I have so far witnessed in my life.
    Bigger than Obama getting elected? Blasphemy

    It was an awe inspiring event. I remember watching it and being transfixed that everything I learned from being born into the Cold War was being torn down with that wall.

  6. #6
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.16.17 @ 02:36 PM
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    Still an amazing day - part of something my junior high social studies teacher insisted we'd never see in our lifetime (the reunification of Germany).

    How are things in Germany these days? Have the people adjusted to being one country after living through years of separation and being goverened by differing ideologies?

  7. #7
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    Ich spreche nur einen bischen Deutsch, aber ich denke, dass heute passend für mich zu Deutsch sprechen ist.

    Ich wünsche Freude und Glück an die Leute von Berlin, und ich hoffe dass sie alle sicher und froh bleiben.
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    Quote Originally Posted by graeme View Post
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  8. #8
    PM Goo with your concerns OLO's Avatar
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    12.16.17 @ 01:37 PM
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    I spent a day in East Berlin, I think it was 1984. I remember thinking what a shit hole it was. I was glad to see the Marines at Check Point Charlie.
    ((Just My Two Cents))
    And thats about what its worth.

  9. #9
    Hang 'Em High RRMB's Avatar
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    05.21.17 @ 06:42 PM
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    My two step-sisters and step-brother lived in Gemany for a while. Their mom was a civilian worker with the Army in Frankfurt. I remember seeing them in tears the night The Wall came down, as we all sat in our living room in Iowa celebrating.

    My maternal grandfather's family was from Germany. He was a 2nd generation American. Granted, long before The Wall & spread of Communism. He still had distant relatives that he talked with occassionally, up until he died in 1985. He hated the fact that his ancestoral home was being held hostage. My Grandma & mom still talked to them around Christmas every year.

    Out of the blue that night, we received a phone call from them, from a pay phone near Brandenburgh Gate, from relatives none of us had ever met before. My Grandma gave them my parents number, and they called, just so we could hear the celebration. That night was a monumental victory for Germans and Europe. But, overall, it felt like a victory for the whole world.

    It ruined Mikhail Gorbachev's run as the Soviet leader; and as tough of a decision it was for him to finally reach, it solidified his place as a compassionate humanitarian, that put the betterment of humans, over politics will never be forgotten.

    I wish today's politicians would take note of this
    "Jesus, that fucker just crawled out of his hen house that was destroyed by the Alabama tornados. Fucking 280mph plus winds sucked the gleam off this bitch and passed it on to a bird in Rhoad Island." - Hurricane Halen 5/3/11 (about my birthday chicken from seenbad)

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  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrockinmonkeyboy View Post
    I wish today's politicians would take note of this
    One of which isn't even going to Germany to be a part of this...

    President Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is his place, infuriating many Germans, as the US president is beloved here. Some in Berlin asked if this snub indicated that the alliance between the US and Germans is strained.

    The events of the last week have fueled German concerns. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel was flying back from Washington after meeting with Obama and giving a speech to US Congress, General Motors, whose board was appointed by the Obama administration, canceled a deal that would have saved German automotive jobs. Ms. Merkel was stunned and angry. The White House didn’t comment.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  11. #11
    Good Enough Tropical Storm Tracey's Avatar
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    11.18.17 @ 07:19 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    One of which isn't even going to Germany to be a part of this...

    President Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is his place, infuriating many Germans, as the US president is beloved here. Some in Berlin asked if this snub indicated that the alliance between the US and Germans is strained.

    The events of the last week have fueled German concerns. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel was flying back from Washington after meeting with Obama and giving a speech to US Congress, General Motors, whose board was appointed by the Obama administration, canceled a deal that would have saved German automotive jobs. Ms. Merkel was stunned and angry. The White House didn’t comment.
    That's just because it wasn't about him. He can spend a fortune trying to get the Olympic Committee to decide on his hometown but not join in the remembrance of one of the most historic events in our lifetime. He would have been one of many, not the star. Too bad...

    I would have been fine with him going to this event. I wouldn't have griped about that trip at all. Oh well.

    TST<---------not a rockstar---- ---------

  12. #12
    Good Enough wombattt's Avatar
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    05.23.17 @ 01:16 PM
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    Damn it's been 20 years!

    I was stationed in England at the time and had been to Berlin once before (when the wall was still up, of course)...I was in a career field that had positions in Berlin, and a very good friend of mine lived there. We were supposed to visit about a week before hand, but something came up...we arrived in Berlin about a week after the wall came down.

    I've got a few chunks of it still...chipped them myself, just outside my friend's house.
    "Always hopeful, yet discontent,
    He knows changes aren't permanent
    But change is!"

  13. #13
    Sinner's Swing! graeme's Avatar
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    11.19.17 @ 09:41 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    How are things in Germany these days? Have the people adjusted to being one country after living through years of separation and being goverened by differing ideologies?
    Interesting question for me billy007, because I truly am fascinated by the whole reunification thing. I have had wonderful conversations with people brought up in the East who have since moved West and have never had the same answer from people about how things have progressed.

    Some continuous themes however appear to be:

    Life was life in the East just as it is anywhere else. You live your life within the confines of whatever society you live in. All societies have them but you don't notice them so much when that is where you are from. Most people just went about living and working and falling in love and all the rest of it. The differences are in the details.

    Most East (and West) Germans feel that the East was "raped" when the wall came down. Big business swooped in during the confusion of those early months and bought up everything they could, often then breaking things up and selling them. They got their freedom but also had a lot taken away too. Things have improved of course, as serious, long term investment in the East began, but it is still the poor cousin. Unemployment in some areas is up at 40 or even 50%. There are smaller towns where the population literally just left home, never to return. Ghost towns with nothing and very few people.

    I haven't been to the old East yet but I have been told that some of the re-energised towns (Dresden springs to mind) are absolutely fantastic places nowadays. Very modern and with great facilities. The old communist architecture probably still predominates though. I lived in Poland for a couple of years and it truly is depressing to look at some of the built up skyrise areas.

    The people seem to have integrated without too many problems at all, and whilst I think that Westerners tend to look down a little on the Easterners, it is not too obvious. Most of the people from the East are highly educated and skilled - the education system in the East was far less about propaganda and idealogy than one might assume.

    I've only been living in Germany for less than two years and of course, have a lot of the old notions about the East that are probably not exactly correct - we had our own propaganda machine running too - but I think that the whole exercise has been a success, with a lot of the attendant problems that such a huge shift would naturally cause.

    Germany is a good place, I love living here, and would heartily recommend a visit by anyone interested in seeing this country.

    By Graeme.
    Deutsche Touristik Büro.
    A man could lose himself in a country like this.

    My blog at http://tollins.blogspot.de/

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk LLFHS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tropical Storm Tracey View Post
    That's just because it wasn't about him. He can spend a fortune trying to get the Olympic Committee to decide on his hometown but not join in the remembrance of one of the most historic events in our lifetime. He would have been one of many, not the star. Too bad...

    I would have been fine with him going to this event. I wouldn't have griped about that trip at all. Oh well.

    TST<---------not a rockstar---- ---------
    Obama is currently at Fort Hood to attend the memorial there for those who were shot down in that bloodbath last week.
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  15. #15
    Good Enough Tropical Storm Tracey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLFHS View Post
    Obama is currently at Fort Hood to attend the memorial there for those who were shot down in that bloodbath last week.

    I know and he should be there. He made a very nice speech. I watched it.

    TST<-------it was good-------he has a plane---it flies fast---

 

 

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