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25 Years Later: I have no idea where I was when the Berlin Wall fell.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall falling.

It’s interesting – for the first time, that I can recall, I was asked what I was doing when I heard that the wall had opened – and it occurred to me that I really have no memory of the event, when it happened.

Lichtgrenze & Berlin Mauer

Lichtgrenze & Berlin Mauer — together in one of the few places where the original Berlin Wall still stands, next to Niederkirchnerstraße.

The days that are crystal clear to me are Space Shuttle Challenger exploding, the day that news about Matthew Shepard broke, and September 11th.

But not November 9, 1989.

It is, however, clear for my older German friends – not so much for the younger ones. And in retrospect, it’s hard to underestimate how important that day was in history – and how much the East German experience says about the capacity of man to act inhumanly toward his fellow man.

Lichtgrenze

The Lichtgrenze made for challenging photography — I didn’t want to cause any accidents, so I didn’t bring my tripod. I wish other photographers had been more respectful.

To mark the 25th anniversary, a “Lichtgrenze” was put up through Berlin – marking the core path through the city center where the Berlin Wall once stood.

other 004

Lichtgrenze at night.

It was an interesting concept – large balloons were put on top of polls along the path, and then messages were attached, with string, to each balloon. Lit by a lamp, the balloons stood along the path of the Berlin Wall throughout the weekend, culminating in their release Sunday evening starting at about 7pm – roughly when the wall was breached back in 1989.

Lichtgrenze - Liftoff

Lift off of the balloons along the Lichtgrenze — speeding off into the night sky.

I spent a couple hours Sunday evening wandering the Lichtgrenze with Snooker in Berlin – about a kilometer of it – making note of how it looked. For me, it worked – the brightly lit, white balloons slowly bobbing in the wind – the excitement of people wandering along the lights – waiting for the runner to come along and tell the man guarding each poll that it was time to release the balloon.

Balloon -- Caught

Some of the balloons only travel a few meters before becoming captured. There’s a metaphor there, but I’m not going to touch it..

And then it was over – a few balloons made it no further than the tree above and a few had to be tugged loose from their polls – but ultimately the Lichtgrenze “slipped the surly bonds of earth” – vanishing more quickly than the actual Berlin Wall, which can still be found in a Las Vegas men’s room.

Berlin Wall: Repurposed

The Berlin Wall is everywhere, including this Las Vegas casino bathroom!

1 comment to 25 Years Later: I have no idea where I was when the Berlin Wall fell.

  • Joanne Audretsch

    Thanks for the pix, Adam. I so wish I could have been there for this event– because I (and David) vividly recall what we were doing in Berlin the night the Wall fell. For us, it will always be one of the defining moments of our lives. For me personally, is say # 1: the moon landing. #2: fall of the Wall. # 3: September 11th.
    I appreciate you Sharing your photos.