It is a day of celebration for freedom lovers.
On November 9, 2014, Germans festooned the 15-kilometer path on which the Berlin Wall had once stood with 8,000 lighted helium balloons, which were then released into the sky. Reuters says that the release symbolizes the breaching of the Wall. I think of it as symbolizing how so many trapped souls could at last freely and individually ascend.
Twenty-five years ago, in culmination of a series of protests and negotiations, a half million people demanding freedom of emigration gathered at the Alexanderplatz in East Berlin — some two years after Ronald Reagan had exhorted Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” On November 9, 1989, an official announced that refugees could freely travel directly from East Germany to West Germany. A barrier brutally dividing West from East Berlin since 1961 was finally torn down.
Soon the two halves of Germany were reunited. Not without problems. But certainly without the problem that faced them all during the Cold War — the risk of being shot and killed for seeking a better life.
Many of us grew up knowing no other world but one in which the Berlin Wall loomed.
It stood, marking the most visible portion of barriers that had persisted for decades.
Like Communism itself, the Berlin Wall seemed immovable. Yet ideas and choices are what created such a reality; so other ideas and choices could create something better. When prospects for freedom seem bleakest, that’s what we need to remember.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.