When I stood in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, painted in rusty tears and rebar, I could feel the anguish of ages past and not so long ago. I remember when it fell in November of ’89, the collective joy of a people imprisoned by its menace for 28 years.
But I couldn’t understand then or now what it must have felt like to live within its confine, a concrete sentry cruelly taunting anyone to cross his path. No one really knows how many accepted his dare and succeeded; but 192 died or were murdered in failed attempts.
I stood there, free, with my family, wondering how different life would feel if I wasn’t free to stand there with my family…what it would feel like to raise children born in a prison with only a glimmer of hope to escape. I thanked God that by His grace I didn’t have to know what it felt like.
On November 9, 1989 The Wall fell and people rejoiced and the dead were vindicated of a crime they never commited. Their spirits dance through hollows burrowed out by the people they left behind, having a last laugh that echoes in history’s ear.
The Wall tells ten thousand stories. I’d love to hear them all.
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Written in response to Lisa Jo’s Five Minute Friday prompt this week, “Story.”
Oh, Robin. Your travels are bringing back so many memories of my young adult life. I stood at this wall in the bitter cold of January, 1979 during the Cold War with an Air Force husband and was starkly reminded why we were living so far from home. The drive through Checkpoint Alpha and Bravo brougt us into West Berlin. We saw the wall from the side of freedom and then went through Checkpoint Charlie to the other side. We went off the beaten path and saw breadlines tha were 4 blocks long. We were tailed by Russian soldiers the entire time we were on the East side. It was bleak and eerie and I was so thankful when we got back to the other side. It gives one pause, doesn’t it, to consider what we speak in the name of liberty that others died trying to achieve. In our lifetime.
It was a very uncomfortable feeling as a 7th grader to stand on the ‘free’ side of the Wall and take a tour bus through Checkpoint Charlie and see the museum there as well. I am thankful that my parents took me there and widened my world view.
I also remember how odd it was that all the windows on the occupied side, facing the Wall, had their panes divided in such a way that they formed a cross and they were all painted white.
I remember going to see a few museums and some pretty famous art on the ‘occupied’ side which was pretty to cool to then take Art History in college and see photos in my textbook and remember what they looked like in real life.
I would love to go there someday now that the Wall only stands as a reminder of history and no longer keeping people imprisoned.
Wow, beautiful photos and important reminder, especially after celebrating July 4. I am tempted to take so much for granted… thank you for this.
I’d love to invite you to join in my online Bible study of Ephesians — starts next week! 🙂
Powerfully written, Robin. (I love the photos you share of all your adventures on Twitter, too.)
A humbling reminder of freedom here. I thank you for this.