The Fall of the Berlin Wall...Part 2
For over 25 years, the residents of East Germany and the city of East Berlin had been unable to travel to the west. But after waves of East Germans began flooding into Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia and demanding asylum at the West German embassies in those countries, the East German government decided to ease travel restrictions. On the evening of November 9th 1989, during a press conference to announce the lifted restrictions, a party spokesman was asked when the new regulations would take effect. After hesitating for a moment he said "As far as I know immediately, without delay". The lifted restrictions included East Berlin and no one had bothered to inform the East German border guards. Huge crowds began showing up at all of the crossings and demanding that they be let through. After several frantic calls, the border guards stepped aside and the crowds swelled past and into freedom and the waiting crowds of West Berliners who welcomed them with champagne and flowers.
As the night went on people began to climb up onto to the wall and celebrate its demise. The party raged all night and included citizens trying to break down the wall. Some pulling it down...
....others taking a more visceral approach.
On New Years Eve 1989, David Hasselhoff performed a concert at the remains of the wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate. I'm not sure how many East and West Berliners crossed back in to East Berlin that evening in an attempt to escape his singing but the numbers are probably in the thousands (I won't inflict the video of him singing on a crane, swinging back and forth over the wall while wearing a light up jacket). He's not good. The wall was removed over the next few years and was completely removed (except for a few pieces left in place as historical examples) by 1992.
In late 1990 my parents traveled to Germany to witness the reunification of the city of Berlin and they brought me back a piece of the wall (along with a Soviet soldiers hat!). Millions of people took time out of their visits to the city of Berlin to chisel off a piece of the wall...but only one of those people did it with his words, President Ronald Reagan. But he also had a chance to take a swing at the wall he helped knock down....
Walls don't stop freedom...they just delay to for a few years. And they always fall.