“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” — President Ronald Reagan – June 12, 1987
The day was Nov. 9th, 1989. Has it really been 27 years? I remember sitting in my American Government class as Mr. Lundblad wheeled in a small, black and white television. I remember his words very well —“No daily quiz or lecture today, ladies and gentlemen. Put your books away, too. Today we are going to watch a historical moment.”
The Berlin Wall that divided East and West Germany came down that day. The Wall that stood for 28 years was a symbol and reminder of the Cold War and the oppression of people under the rule of communism.
Mr. Lundblad asked us to imagine what our lives would be like if we had a 12-foot concrete wall topped with barbed wire separating us from our neighbors. Not only a wall, but also vicious dogs and soldiers armed with machine guns watching your every move – to be a prisoner in your own country.
We couldn’t imagine it; it was Unfathomable. Our lives were much different.
Mr. Lundblad then asked, “Now try to imagine how the Germans must feel today.” We pondered his question as we sat at our desks and witnessed the celebration. I realized then (and now) that freedom should never be taken for granted.
Even though the Cold War is in our rear view mirror, oppression of people in many parts of the world is still real. A quarter century later we have witnessed the atrocities in Iraq (Saddam Hussein), Balkan Region (Slobodan Milosevic), 9/11 attacks, Afghanistan (Al Qaeda terrorists and the Taliban), and now Syria/Iraq Daesh (ISIL), and a resurgent Russia seeks to instigate a Cold War 2.0.
The jubilant celebrations that occurred 27 years ago in Germany should be celebrated today. This monumental event changed history and reunified a country. It’s an achievement of people standing together with one voice for Freedom.
It is for this reason (freedom) that our military will continue to fight, not against physical walls, but against the walls of hatred and intolerance that threaten us or threaten individuals whose voices have been silenced.
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