Where were you when the Wall came down?

August 4, 2009

Did you live under the communist regime of East Germany? Sneak across the border to escape to West Berlin? Celebrate the fall of the wall in 1989?

In the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Reuters is looking for contributions from its readers. Send your pictures or video of events leading up to the historic moment to Your View or add your comments below.

Comments

Wonderful photos.
Thanks to your photo journalist and to this team.
At the time of Berlin wall collapse,I was in India.
In my life, i have not dreamed of this happenings.
Severe blow to world communist regimes
Pack of cards is a right word to use for this incident.
I wish,North Korean fences will be removed and Koreans will be like Germans in forthcoming decades.

 

Not there but in U.S.A. celebration of ’89. Was great victory for freedom after much suffering. Is bad this bad type government is rising now in U.S.A. and we have no free country to flee to now.

Posted by F. Brandenburg | Report as abusive
 

I was a very young American when the wall came down. I was four, and I couldn’t understand why the television kept showing this same clip over and over again. A night scene, full of young people, by a concrete wall covered every inch in graffiti. People climbing all over it, deliriously happy. And then one of the great concrete sections falls down. It wasn’t until middle school and world history that I finally figured out what it meant. So I’m guess I’m grateful that I was born into enough privilege, that my family was not separated by a concrete wall.

Posted by Joanna | Report as abusive
 

as a young vietnamese, i hate communist party. they just want to control people like. i want to join force to bring them down.

Posted by Khoa Tran | Report as abusive
 

I grew up during the height of the Cold War. The Wall seemed like a permanent fixture. My brother and I were fortunate to be able to visit West Berlin in 1986…we took a side trip to the wall and crossed over for a short time through Checkpoint Charlie to tour East Berlin with a group. I remember thinking “this wall we be here for another 50 years”.
Three years later, as it was clear after the events in Gdansk, Poland that communist governments were falling and in the fall of ’89 the announcement came that East Germans could visit with West German family members. Crowds began gathering at the wall and I was transfixed watching the events on TV. I came so close to taking a couple thousand dollars out of savings and flying to Berlin to witness the events first hand, but thought the girl I was dating and would later marry would think I was crazy.
Well, I married that girl and like communist rule in East Germany, it didn’t last. I later visited Berlin and was so pleased to see the city united and the people trying to make a go of it. Not going to witness the reunification of Germany has been my only regret in life.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive
 

I was in west Berlin from 88-91. I think we can all say that bringing down the wall has been a bad idea. We should have bailed out the USSR like the Americans did with their economy – not let it collapse. How much instability and expense has the west incurred because of free radicals no longer restrained by a polarized world?

Posted by CommieJerk | Report as abusive
 

I was a Captain in the U.S. Army stationed in Hanau, Germany. My German relatives who had been born in Eastern Germany (now part of Poland) could not believe what we were seeing. I never imagined I would see in my lifetime the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. My German born wife and daughter travelled with me to Eastern Germany and Southwestern Poland in May 2008. Germany’s reunification and Poland’s political and economic success demonstrates Democracy is what all humans on this earth desire.

Posted by Richard Hook | Report as abusive
 

I was born in East Berlin in 1951.In 1962, one year after the Wall was built, my parents and I were extremely lucky to be able to escape to West Berlin.
My father was a Social Democrat and was politically active underground in East Berlin. One day Party members in the West arranged for us to be picked up in a car and taken through Checkpoint Charlie with false passports into West Berlin.
We were very grateful to have a life in freedom.
I lived in West Berlin when the Wall fell in 1989.
It was a miracle, and for the first time in my life I was completely sure that God exists.
The fall of the Wall was such a happy and miraculous event! I pray that all suppressive,inhuman political systems just crumble like the Berlin Wall did.

Posted by Evelyn | Report as abusive
 

I was stationed in Georgia when this happened. I remember meeting a few soldiers who witnessed the event. One guy was on patrol who was not informed of the event which he explained was a great surprise. He showed me a piece of the wall he got.
I got reassigned 1 yr later to germany. That was a interesting time.

I kinda miss the cold war and it nostalgia of east against west. The US government had its campaign against communism. I guess I’m a war monger or I was supposed to be a successful military leader at one time. my path took me elsewhere.

Posted by Joey | Report as abusive
 

I was a student on exchange from my Canadian university studying in Strasbourg, France. At first I was completely incredulous – I did not believe my fellow student, from Saudi Arabia when he told me the Wall was down. Then it was on tv. I imediately went to the car rental and hired a car. I threw in two more students – a fellow Canadian and an American girl – and we drove all night through incredible fog to get to Berlin. The experience was unbelievable – the atmosphere was alive with energy and relief and even confusion still. No one knew really if this was going to last or even if it was real still. Everyone was walking as if in a daze. We could walk up and down the Western side, banging away on the wall. I didn’t have enough foresight to buy a hammer! So I made due with a big pipe from a construction site! There was a guy who ran from a construction site with a jackhammer – pulling his air lines as far as he could and then ramming the wall with it. The crowd cheered. The Wall was made from exceptionally strong concrete – it was not easy to break. Crowds would build up around anything and anyone they thought was going to do something exciting. The air was alive with the “anything can happen here” energy! One guy had a huge crowd build up around him watching him fishing a coathanger through a manhole grate in the ground for ten minutes. Then he finally lifted his keys out! Everyone laughed! A patrol of East German soldiers came walking down and one officer who had not yet resigned himself to the fate of his service was chasing people away from the wall, confiscating hammers, kicking things out of the way. His junior officers just laughed discretly behind him. I found a crevice in the wall and there were East German soldiers on the other side peering through – I took an amazing black and white shot of them through the hole in the wall. They posed for me. I gave them Marlboros and Canadian flag pins. They were incredibly happy. The picture through the wall is on my office wall. It is still beautiful and speaks of hope and people still stop and talk about it. And a big piece of the wall sits on my cabinet, despite that I didn’t have a hammer. I will not soon forget Berlin.

Posted by Neil Brennan | Report as abusive
 

One of our local Atlanta radio stations attended the Pink Floyd concert of The Wall, which the band had stated they would not perform live again until the Wall came down. That videotape crew brought back the event, gave every attendee a ticket, and drew a ticket number to award that ticket holder with one of the styrofoam blocks the band used in performance to simulate a block of the Wall.

Posted by Susan Moore | Report as abusive
 

During my visits to Obsevation Point (OP) Alpha, North of Bad Hersfeld from 1985 to 1988, and travelling from Checkpoint Alpha (West Germany autobaun access point) to Checkpoint Bravo (West Berlin access point) it was like going back in time. After passing into East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie to do some shopping, you feel the “Police State” pressence, see the vaccant buildings with props in the windows, and notice the lack of progress from 1950s. The walls and fences were designed to keep people IN, not protect East Germany from the people outside. My son visited Berlin in early 1990s and brought me back a piece of “The Wall” which I display to remind me of the FREEDOMS the people desire and can win from opressive governments. May those that were behind that “Iron Curtain” and their decendants never forget those hardships plus those that sacrficed to gain them that freedom.

Posted by Randy | Report as abusive
 

I was stationed with the US Air Force in Bitburg Germany at that time. I was taking a US History class and one day after people started tearing down the wall our teacher came in put some newspapers on the table and said “Here is our new textbook, history is happening right now.” It was exciting because i had read so much about the struggle of the cold war.
Jamie Boudreaux
208-870-6023

 

Thank You RONALD REAGAN!!!! Without your leadership, this wall would probably remain. We miss you!

Posted by Arcy | Report as abusive
 

The Iron Curtain was the strongest wall in history. Yet it collapsed.

It’s foundations were weakened.

Not by peace, or love, or even democracy.

But by forty years of nuclear brinkmanship, police actions, capitalism, wars, confrontation, propaganda, political threats and expensive empire building. All led by America and the West.

It took a Korea and a Vietnam. It took nuclear submarines. The Cuban Missile Crisis. Afganistan. The bomber gap. Several Israeli-Arab wars. Weapons manufacturing and nuclear stockpiles.

Forty years, and the USSR was struggling for breath. Slowly it began to collapse under itself.

And then ‘the people’ walk up and bring the wall down with their little hammers and songs. How easy it must have seemed at the time.

Peace and love may have won the day. But only after violence and politics had finished all the hard work.

Had America not done so, the wall would probably stand intact to this day.

Though that said, the majority of Soviet leadership quite easily survived the transition to ‘democratic’ politics. So much for a brave new world.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive
 

I was on a tugboat in Puget Sound Seattle, watching the TV news unfold as I prepared dinner for the crew. I remember going up to the wheelhouse and saying, “Hey, you guys aren’t going to believe this, they’re tearing down the Berlin Wall.” One guy responded, “So?”. I went back down to celebrate myself – by making saurbraten.

Posted by Elaine | Report as abusive
 

I visited the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on July 4, 2009. I selected July 4th, because it was the anniversary of the Independence Day in the USA. One of the many great exhibits was a fragment of the Berlin Wall. I also heard the recording of President Reagan’s speech in which he told Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” Hearing those words again put chills on my spine again.

Posted by Hugh Strickland | Report as abusive
 

While I sit here reflecting, drinking a German hefe-weissbier…I was 12 years old living in Saint Louis Missouri, United States. I don’t remember much or knew the struggle involved but I remember president Reagan uttering these words, “Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” I know now this wasn’t some magical words that lead to the tear down. I do believe now looking back that it just added fuel to the fire and the pressure that was already boiling over in Berlin. If the wall didn’t come down from higher up, it would have came down. It was inevitable.

Posted by Josh | Report as abusive
 

The news of the Wall coming down seemed unbelievable that it was really true; it was on November 9th, 1989, my 50th birthday. That news made it a magnificent day to always remember. I paused and always remember Peter Fechter, the German boy who was shot and bled to death on the wall when it was first constructed. Oddly yesterday I ran into Sergi Kruchev,(the son of Nikita Kruchev who looks exactly like his father) who now lives in my community in the USA. A small world has changed, no more walls. Come on Korea, get the idea, lets move on in the 21st century! DMC

Posted by Dennis Cory | Report as abusive
 

I had spent all of my summers living with family in West Berlin and had toured the Wall often. We knew the people on the other side lived under a tyrannical government and had no freedom. The movie “Other People’s Lives” gives a fuller picture of what life was like there. When I was watching the news of the wall coming down, I thought I was seeing things.I was completely in shock. I thought they would begin shooting at any time. I was so happy for those experiencing freedom, knowing not to ever take it for granted.

Posted by Rhonda | Report as abusive
 

Indelible event, for me as an American working with US Military in Stuttgart, Germany. First time I was introduced to “prayer warriors” and the realization that many people had been concentrating “prayers” visualizing the positive and freeing transformation of Russia and reunification of Germany. A time of great joy, gratitude and wondrous respect for Gorbachov and all inspired human decisions!
It made me understand transformation and change can be peaceful, war is not necessary – our positive creative abilities are powerful enough to effect huge change!

Posted by Mary Lennox | Report as abusive
 

From ’79-’82 I was guarding F-4s and later F-16s at Hahn AB, W.Germany. One cold December morning at about 2 we scrambled and unlike the many exercises I participated in, my bird actually left the area fully loaded and taxied out for takeoff. Later, much later we got the news that Soviet tanks had massed on the Polish border awaiting the order to go in and take out the Lech Walesea-Solidarity Union weakened government. Now, I’m not declaring anything other than I believe they saw my bird by satellite and blinked. For me, the wall started falling sooner than most.

Posted by James Parker | Report as abusive
 

New York – wedding.

Posted by Rajeev Rawat | Report as abusive
 

I was in Lima, Peru, Southamerica, I was so happy to be able to see the fall of that wall, and all the win of Humanity and Freedom over the opression.
My spirit was so happy to share that with some German friends of mine. Reay so specia for the world, and also to never forget .

Posted by Maria | Report as abusive
 

I was born in 1972 in West Berlin. As I remember- most Berliners were glued to their televisions when the wall came down. Nobody could believe what was happening and nobody for sure was anticipating it.
Weeks before the wall came down West Germans were following all the events in the GDR, but nobody was expecting it. More and more East Germans were taking part in the monday demonstrations against the communist regime and the demonstrations just became more and more.
As far as I know, and what a lot of people forget, is that the wall coming down so fast was a partial accident. The East Germnan foreign ministry had announced over the radio that it will open the borders and will allow the East Germans to travel with visas. After that broadcast the people of the GDR started flocking to the borders to try out their new freedom. The first couple of thousands that went over to West Berlin were given a “special” visa stamp. The idea behind this was not to let the people back in with this stamp. A few hours later though there suddenly were tens of thousands of people standing at the border and wanting out. To manage the crowd and prevent an uprising, the East German border police had the only option to open the borders and let the people pass.
One final thing: A lot of people, including the ex chancellor of West Germany, tried to take credit for the wall coming down. For me and for what I saw in those weeks the wall tumbled- the only one who deserves 100% of the credit for the actual fall of the wall is the East German people. They were sick of their government and stood up against it. For me, this is one of the biggest displays of freedom of speech through action and very good example how anyone and anywhere can start a revolution and succeed.

Posted by Robert Zinitski | Report as abusive
 

I served with the 11th Armored Cav. (1975-77) We patrolled OP ALPHA. Brings back so many memories. We loved giving the finger to our E.German border guaurds. Urinating at them from our tower was another greeting to their prying eyes. We were prohibited from throwing rocks at the mined fence. Heh, Heh! We spent 4 hours on guard and 4 hours off for usually a week or so. It was tiring work and you always knew you would be killed if the Soviets attacked through the Fulda Gap. We were a suicide delay force since no one was ahead of us on the E. and W.German border. Bless you Berlin Brigade and Berliners! Since we had a one minute life expectantcy in case of attack and since we were severly outnumbered when at OP ALPHA (platoon), we took drugs as a daily ritual. We took our work seriously though and are very proud that we were on the front lines facing the Soviet Bear. When I left M.CO. back to the World, I thought I never would live to see the day when the Wall came tumbling down! Ironically I was held by the East Germans and treated harshly because of an accidental crossing. I paid the price living a lifetime with PTSD. As an 18 year old kid, I was placed in a center and had guns put in my head and back. They wanted me to sign confessions and I thought I would never come home. I never signed their confessions. When the Wall came down I was with a new girlfriend. She never knew how much I went through and all the suffering that occurred during the Cold War. To my 3/11 ACR Brothers, Allons! KAT-B.

Posted by kbros | Report as abusive
 

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