Students remember the 25th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall

Student Christopher Traslavina recalls seeing footage of David Hasselhoff performing on the Berlin wall on New Years Eve of 1989; a little after a month when it was torn down. “Every few years, that footage would find its way on TV. I remember it vividly to this day. His light-up jacket, the people celebrating below…it was quite a sight.”

The Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989. 25 years ago. It signified the reuniting of a country and its people. As bits and pieces of the wall fell to the ground, people shed tears of joy at the                                                                                                           breaking down of the barrier that had kept them apart from 1961 to 1989.

Eastern Berlin stayed under USSR control and the United States, United Kingdom and France at the end of World War II claimed Western Berlin in 1945.

The Berlin Wall had been put in place to keep Eastern Berlin citizens from entering Western Berlin where they would join as refugees. East Berlin officials saw it as citizens running from communism and towards democracy.

The wall cut through the heart of Berlin and divided its citizens. A section called the “death strip” was built in between the two sections where eastern border guards were ordered to shoot on sight. With only three original checkpoints, no one was allowed to pass the wall except for official business.

People went through great lengths and made desperate attempts to reach the Western side, tunneling underneath, jumping out of windows, attempting to drive through the wall, most of them being ultimately in vain.

Families were torn apart and jobs lost, devastating citizens that depended on the free passage from one side to the other.

The wall stayed in place and its daunting presence continued for 28 years. In June of 1987, Ronald Reagan gave his famous “Tear Down this Wall!” speech on the Western side. It wasn’t until two years later when political relations between the four countries began to improve, that East Germany opened the border once more.

German citizens from both sides took to the wall, tearing it to pieces to make sure it would never harm or claim another life ever again.

The fall of the Berlin Wall meant a new beginning for everyone. Some walked through the checkpoints, some climbed over the wall and others danced on top of it, experiencing freedom as they never had before.

Brandon Rivera, music major, brought in a few pieces of the Berlin Wall to share with other students. “My family just got back from Europe. One of their destinations was Berlin. As a gift, my sister gave me these pieces of the wall. To me they are a reminder to always believe in freedom.”