The 9th November 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. From the 7th of November to the eve of the 9th, cialis sale the dividing lines of the Berlin Wall were recreated with 8,000 balloons spread across the city. Hundreds of thousands watched as the helium balloons were set free, each by a citizen of Berlin. The weekend-long commemorations featured acts of remembrance by both Merkel and Gorbachev, sending a message of peace across Europe.
The wall was built in 1961 to stop the flight of East Berliners into the prosperous West Berlin. Beginning as a bit of barbed wire, it quickly progressed into the ten foot tall ‘iron curtain.’ Overnight, families and friends suddenly could not cross the border from the communist East into West Berlin. The wall was guarded by soldiers who were ordered to act on a shoot-to-kill policy. 138 Berliners lost their lives in attempts to cross the wall.
On the 9th November 1989 the Soviet government of East Berlin under Gorbachev, announced the wall’s opening. People were suddenly permitted to stand on, dance and break down the wall which had divided their city for 29 years.
In remembrance of the peaceful end to the wall and the lives lost, Berlin was made a divided city once again. 8,000 glowing balloons covering 15.3km of the city were set free one by one into the night sky at 7pm, taking approximately 30 minutes. The scene recalled both the brutality of the wall, and its peaceful fall.
Crowds gathered to watch their city reunified once again while Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ rang through the streets from the Brandenburg gate, and “Frieden” meaning “Peace” was projected on its facade. Each balloon was released by a citizen of Berlin, the youngest just four years old, and the eldest 74. The freedom and unification of Berlin in 1989 is celebrated both by those who experienced its creation, and those who enjoy it today.
Chancellor Angela Merkel placed a rose in a crack in one of the remaining parts of the Wall on Sunday afternoon. Merkel was living in East Berlin in November 1989. She declared that the fall of the Wall showed the world that “nothing has to stay as it is.” “I don’t think you forget how you felt that day – at least I will never forget”, she said.
Gorbachev, the Soviet leader of 1989 who finally allowed freedom to flourish by ending the Cold War and opening the barriers, marked his handprints in cement at Checkpoint Charlie. He criticized Europe’s inability to resolve the issues in the Middle East and the Ukraine, and urged the West to lift the sanctions of senior Russian officials due to their support of Ukrainian separatists, encouraging partnership amongst powers. Later that day, Gorbachev stated that “Europe is on the brink of a new Cold War.”
On Friday, in a tribute to the anniversary of the Wall’s falling, Barak Obama stated; “As Russia’s actions against the Ukraine remind us, we have more work to do to fully realize our shared vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace”.
25 years on as the world remembers the brutality of the Berlin Wall, current conflicts are brought to light. Each balloon set free on Sunday evening had a message attached to it written by its releaser. Among the releasers was Ulrich Hoeckel whose message read: “Reconciliation and peace in the Ukraine.”
Written by Eleanor McGovern