The Wall- wherein Braidwood reminisces

September 17, 2005

The Berlin wall being torn down was an amazing experience in my life. It’’s one of those events, like the Challenger explosion or the 9/11 attacks, which I remember exactly where I was when it happened. I was in my living room watching T.V. The people were standing on the wall, cheering, and breaking through it with axes and whatever else they had. I was crying and cheering too. I couldn’’t believe it. I remember watching White Nights and a movie where a family tries to escape over the wall in a hot air balloon. The wall was a dark and terrible thing in my childhood world. To me, the wall had always been up. I was amazed when it fell.

I went to East Germany in 1991. I was an exchange student in Denmark . That was the first year exchange students were allowed to visit there. I was nervous because I’’d heard lots of stories while growing up about people who’’d gone to east Germany and gotten “trapped there. We were given strict instructions to have all our papers in order. Before we were allowed to enter East Germany, about six guards, armed as if they were going into battle, came onto the bus and checked all of our papers. I don’’t like machine guns passing that close by me. East Germany was grey, like a black and white film. I didn’’t expect so much of the wall to be up and I was surprised and delighted by all the art on the West German side of the wall. I brought home a couple chunks of the wall, (although I suspect some entrepreneurial east Germans were spray painting and selling random concrete chunks,) as well as a whole roll of film of the longer than expected wall.

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