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November 9th, 2009
09:20 AM ET

The Berlin Wall – My Story

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/09/sc00154716.jpg caption="Evelyn and Andreas Preuss at the Berlin Wall, April 1990"]

Lots of memories today of the Berlin Wall falling. My mother, who is from Berlin, and I went there to participate in the event.

Read my CNN.com blog entry here: http://inthefield.blogs.cnn.com/2009/11/06/walls-shadow-fell-across-generations/

I talked with Josh Levs in the CNN Newsroom about our Wall experience. Check out the clip below.

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    The generation of kids now days dont remember the fear of being nuked with school drills of crawling under our desk and covering our heads I feel alot more comfortable now then I did then.

    November 9, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  2. citizenjournalistreview

    My spouse and I too went to Berlin during that time. However, we didn't get there for the initial falling of the wall. We were there a couple of months later, but the wall actually was coming down for many months. We still had to go through customs to go from East to West Berlin. Only German citizens were allowed to move freely without going through customs. I have a photo of me in West Germany standing literally beside (within an inch of the line) an East German Border Guard.

    One of the cameras we took with us was a Poloroid. I wanted to be sure we got some good photos. I took a photo of several young East Germans who had a huge pole and were working to knock down the wall. I took a photo of them and one guy was so impressed that I wanted to take his photo that he came over to me. I couldn't speak German and he couldn't speak English, but he was obviously proud. Then, the photo began developing and he could see it was him. He motioned that he'd like to take it to show to his friends and I said okay. I will never forget that he literally danced and kicked his heels with the photo in his hand up in the air. They all marveled at it and he brought it back to me. I again motioned to him that it was all his. I will never forget the joy of this young man with his photo.

    November 9, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  3. milspec.ca

    I spent over 2 years stationed at Field Station Berlin between 1989 and 1991. It was an amazing time. I was a german linguist so I could go out into the city and engage folks about what they were thinking and feeling.
    When the wall started to come down, I was there, I saw the water hoses, took a hammer to the wall, shook hands with east german troops when holes developed in the wall, exchanged cigarettes and drank vodka with all who gathered. It was incredibly festive, with a continual feeling of euphoria and historic permanence. I will never forget my time in Berlin.

    November 9, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  4. Eric W.

    Being born in the summer of 1982, I was only 7 years old when in the middle of watching one of the first episodes of The Simpsons, I believe, when it was interrupted by a "Special Report". While I was only 7 years old, my mom had taught me the difference between tyranny & freedom from a very young age and I was able to understand just what a priceless thing liberty is, as well as the nature of what I was seeing on the television in front of my eyes.

    I began crying out of happiness because I realized just what an important, historical event it was that I was witnessing. Even though I was only a 2nd grader, I still have memories of the last days of the cold war and what the true nature of living under Soviet bloc communism was. I knew of the countless families torn apart by that wall of oppression and the lives lost by those JUST TRYING TO REACH FREEDOM!

    I hope people don't forget what the Berlin Wall meant -and I say that because in a conversation with a young 15-year old high school student I had just a week ago, when I brought up the Berlin Wall...HE HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS OR WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT! It's not that he was stupid, by far, just uninformed with any history seemingly -both on the domestic & world front. -If it's not a shame, that in 2009 America, a sophomore high school student has NO IDEA what the BERLIN WALL or the Soviet Union were...I don't know what is!

    November 9, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  5. Juliana Walton

    I was actually there when the Berlin Wall came down....in fact, we were flying into Berlin and I overheard conversations about the Wall...I asked the people sitting around me what they were discussing and they told me that the Wall had come down the night before.

    I was with a tour group of about 10-15 people and I was the only
    German speaker in our group. It was absolutely incredible to experience what the German people were experiencing....we would go to the pre-annnounced Wall openings...there would be people streaming out of East Berlin...people who had never seen the West and people who were being reunited with family members after decades.....everyone was throwing flowers at them....cheering and clapping...really unforgettable....

    The streets were full of people....it was like Mardi Gras in New Orleans....at night everyone had candles and were singing...the big Jumbotron on the main street was projecting a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic being performed in celebration of the fall of the Wall.

    The formerly communist guards were all standing around the former guardposts...drunk on champagne...festooned with flowers....cheering everyone...with their machine guns still slung over their shoulders....

    Several of us hopped into the Travant of a man with whom I'd struck up a conversation....he drove us, with his little dachshund in my lap, all around the neighborhood which had, just the day before, been behind the Iron Curtain. It was eerily foggy....the shops and streets were bare....it was the "normal" way of life there.....it was frightening because we really didn't know what the "rules" were anymore...but, exciting and unbelievable at the same time.....

    In West Berlin the shops were bare, too....but, because the people from the East had literally swarmed through like a plague of locusts....grabbing up fresh fruit and vegetables, jeans....anything and everything...because they'd never had any of that....or, not for many decades...

    This is a life event I will never forget...I, too, still have my little piece of the wall I picked up that weekend...and, memories to last a lifetime....to witness people experiencing freedom for first time was a mental image burned in my memory.....

    Thanks for giving this date so much coverage....

    November 9, 2009 at 1:16 pm |