Last weekend, I travelled to Berlin with a friend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On the Saturday night, there was an outdoor cinema screen at Checkpoint Charlie which was showing a short film about the Wall. My friend and I accidently stumbled across this and decided to stay. We had no idea how emotional the film would be. The filmmaker had created what can only be described as a beautiful montage of footage which moved many people in the audience. The footage showed families being separated and the turmoil that the Wall caused. One scene I remember in particular, was a mother being dragged into the back of a van by the police and her daughter screaming for her. Another scene showed a man swimming across the water and collapsing from exhaustion on the other side, having successfully escaped East Berlin. I heard clapping at this point, and when I turned, a man sat behind me, was sobbing. At this point, I realised how significant and destructive the Wall had been for many German people.
The 9th November is the official anniversary of the Fall of the Wall and was honoured with huge celebrations at Brandenburg Gate. The Mayor of Berlin made a speech and an orchestra sang Ode to Joy. The main attraction of the weekend was the thousands of lit balloons which stood along the former boundary between East and West Berlin. At the end of the speech, there was a countdown and one by one, each balloon was released into the night sky. This was also an incredibly moving moment and one I will never forget.
It has been a quarter of a century since the wall, separating East and West, finally fell. It was an emotional weekend and I felt very proud to say I was there celebrating with many Germans who had been affected by the Wall or whose close family members had been.