Why the fall of the Berlin Wall had an Effect on Me

Berlin Wall: An Epiphany

The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. Trke: Berlin Duvar, 1989 sonbahar
The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. Trke: Berlin Duvar, 1989 sonbahar
A view of the East side of the en:Berlin Wall, taken in 1990 (after the border was opened). The graffiti seen in the photo would date from after the border was opened. Most sections of the en:Berlin Wall were damaged by both local residents and touri
A view of the East side of the en:Berlin Wall, taken in 1990 (after the border was opened). The graffiti seen in the photo would date from after the border was opened. Most sections of the en:Berlin Wall were damaged by both local residents and touri
Chipping off a piece of Berlin Wall. Not an easy task... I still have a piece of it!
Chipping off a piece of Berlin Wall. Not an easy task... I still have a piece of it!

Life Lesson Learned: The Hard Way

Background

The Berlin Wall was a former barrier surrounding West Berlin and symbol of the Cold War, built on August 13, 1961. It was 96 miles (155 km) long with barbed wire barricade and concrete wall at an average height of 11.8 ft (3.60 m). It was designed to separate West Berlin from East Berlin. The East Berlin was controlled by Russia. It was in stark contrast to the West Berlin side.

The Berlin Wall was erected in the dead of night and for 28 years kept East Germans from fleeing to the West. Its destruction, which was nearly as instantaneous as its creation, was celebrated around the world.

The Berlin Wall has long since disappeared from reunified Berlin. Memories of the Wall, however, are still very much alive, and many of the visitors who come from all over the world are disappointed or surprised to find that so little remains of Berlin’s most infamous structure. The German border fortifications have lost their power to terrify and are being preserved for future generations. A moment of silence can help visitors grasp the message of the memorial sites dedicated to people who died trying to cross the Wall.

I went through Check Point Charlie December 25, 1989 and proceeded directly to the Brandenburg Gate where the Berlin Wall was located. As a simple tourist on a 90 day Eurorail Pass (unlimited First Class Train travel), I was curious to see what all the excitement was about people going over and through the Berlin Wall.

The Wall

When I arrived at the imposing thick concrete Wall with barbwire on top of the over 10 foot high wall, I noticed candles burning, people crying and singing. Some people were banging on the concrete Wall obtaining chips from the Wall. The mood was somber, yet festive.

The sun was rising on a cold Christmas day. I was alone. I was on a journey of disappointment. I have just filed for divorce from a 9-year marriage from my best friend. She was the first person I could be authentic and be myself. We shared everything. We worked together. The reasons for the divorce are not important for this article. I was feeling I did not need anyone. I was self-contained. My world as I knew it was destroyed. I had in addition, just lost millions in the last big recession of the ’86 – ’89 era. I was crushed. I wanted to be alone… I needed to sort out my priorities. I was born very poor and had thought money would supply everything I needed. It did not… I had learned a valuable lesson. There were more life lessons I had to learn – the hard way…

The scene and environment around the Wall began to affect my thinking and perceptions… I became reflective. I borrowed a hammer and began to bang on the Wall. After many repeated blows, I obtained pieces of the Wall.

Personal Growth

I leaned against the Wall and an “aha” learning moment began… I began to realize the importance of freedom, how we take for granted our choices and actions; how man’s inhumanity is cruel and dangerous if focused for the good of a few, rather than the good of the many… I began to understand the importance of “moderation.” I began to integrate the idea and notion of what Shakespeare said, “…to thine own self be true…” must be tempered with the concept of compromise. To be true to myself can be harmful to others if I am truly selfish, being true to me. I must balance my needs with others. I became aware of the dynamic life balances of the many facets of the life process. I finally realized life is not black and white. Life presents infinite shades of gray…

As my “awareness” was being processed, the moment became significant. My surroundings were more vibrant. I looked through enlightened eyes. The beauty of the sunrise was surreal. I was experiencing a dawn of a new awareness. My personal growth was in-sync with my environment. My “new beginning” was being birthed as I reflected. My “layers of realty” were focused…

An Epiphany

In this reflective frame of mind, I was euphoric. I looked around and nothing had changed, I had changed with my new awareness. I wanted to share this huge surge of personal growth. I was lonely. There is a huge difference in being alone and being lonely. I was made aware of my need to share. I needed someone… I needed a significant other. I needed to vulnerable; I needed to invest my persona into/with my significant other. My life process had created another chapter of my life.

More Life Exploring Where I did it, Rather Than Wish I had Done It:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Sacramento-River-July-4th-Weekend-on-a-Raft-To-San-Francisco

http://hubpages.com/hub/I-slept-with-Electric-Eels

http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-sail-free-from-Fiji-to-Sydney

http://hubpages.com/hub/Adversity-Does-Make-Us-Stronger

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An Epiphany: Berlin Wall Changed Me 60 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

the wall as symbol of oppression. It's fall was a victory for freedom.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

dahoglund,

As you noted, the Wall has many layers of realities... Thanks for your comment!


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

I remember this well............ what a wonderful day! What a shame that walls are ever necessary at all. Memories........... thanks for sharing! Kaie


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Kaie Arwen,

We all have "walls." The challenge is to have an awareness of those walls and know why we have them...

To solve a "problem," one has to first define the problem... To be aware we have problems/walls is the beginning of the "solutions..."


Dallas Franklin 6 years ago

Lovely recount of the fall of the berlin wall, Dallas. I remember when it happened too and was surprised that others weren't as excited about it as I felt. I lived in a small town in Canada and I guess they were more concerned with their own daily lives. I found out about it at the drs. office! lol I was shocked. And yes, exactly, we don't need walls. It's cool you go a piece of the wall! And the following sentence was really poignant, I thought: I was on a journey of disappointment.

You are a writer, Dallas. NO doubt about it! Keep on shining your light eh!

Love * Light,

DallasallaD ;)


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

SalladallaS

Poignant... Our names!

Our "walls" are our creations...

My "Journey of disappointment" was a self-imposed exile. The unintended consequences provided a learning environment. Perhaps a "coincidence..?" eh?


Jeremey profile image

Jeremey 6 years ago from Arizona

I remember seeing the 'fall of the wall' on the news when I was a boy, just 12 at the time, and had no sense of what it meant. I was curious and began reading newspaper articles and books about it and that me to becoming the 'freedom and liberty' oriented person I am today. Your personal touch to the story is a nice piece to add to my bank of memories regarding it's collapse. Would you mind if I post this on my blogger, i just started it and it could use some quality stories?


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Jeremey,

Thanks! You have my permission to post. Hope it helps.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

What an excellent and well thought out hub, I know exactly how you feel and I just wrote about a life changing event. We all have them, how many people recognized them when they happen? Sometimes years later they will say, "Oh ya, I got it". Events so traumatic can change us forever and I hear you load & clear, I wish I had been there when it happened. Rate up, love & peace darski


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Darlene Sabella,

We would have shared and enjoyed!

Perhaps our "readiness" defines the moment...


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Strange, but true: We have to loose something precious in order to grow. The more we loose, the more we grow....


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

MartieCoetser,

True, but why? My goal is to learn from others; not "experience" everything! Although one's "awareness" is greatly enhanced when one experiences that which others have read about: big difference in the "understanding."

Perhaps wisdom is learning the dynamic balance of learning from one's experiences and learning from others... and knowing the difference.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Beautifully done! My "Life changing event" occurred 3 years ago, when I lost my precious son. Yes, I have grown some because of that experience, but at what a cost! I clearly remember the day of which you speak. Thank you for a truly great piece. Blessings to you!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

vocalcoach,

Thanks for sharing. I am sorry... I have no idea what you have experienced. It would be be extremely, if not impossible for me to deal with what you have. I have two sons...

Being "vulnerable" represents strength...


World-Traveler profile image

World-Traveler 6 years ago from USA

What an incredible experience! The changing of the guard. Sometimes it takes years while in other situations there is a complete collapse and change overnight. This is a great photo documentary. Voted UP! Thanks.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

World-Traveler,

Life is enjoying the process and creating great experiences!

Thanks for your comments.


2uesday profile image

2uesday 6 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

I remember seeing the beginning of the end of the wall on TV, watching it with a tear in my eye thinking that the world was becoming a better place. Now new walls are put up in other places and lives torn apart still by war, which is sad.

It was good to read of your visit to Berlin's wall and how it changed things for you,so thank you for sharing this.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

2uesday,

"Now new walls are put up in other places..." this is an example of why the Berlin Wall made an impact upon me... Why do need "walls?"

Life is a precess... I learn...


ExpandYourMind profile image

ExpandYourMind 6 years ago from Midwest USA

Well done -- beautiful rendition of the Wall, its history, significance and the omnipotence of Freedom.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

ExpandYourMind,

Thanks for your comments. Freedom is often taken for granted...


thooghun profile image

thooghun 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

Dallas, excellent thoughts -- I love the parallel between the wall and you're own symbolical bursting through ;)


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

thooghun,

Thanks for your comments. It was an epiphany...


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Although you approached the wall with a heavy heart of loss in your life at that time, it took seeing and touching and remembrance of how walls put up by humans cause obstructions in our lives. These words you penned

"I finally realized, life is not black and white. Life presents infinite shades of grey"

is so poignant and relevant and your shade at that time in your life was definitely grey.

The poem I recently penned " Christmas, Hallelujah" and you so kindly left a comment there, is stark reality of how MONEY, FAME, RECOGNITION can affect a persons life.

Humanity is more important that stuff and my friend I see a lot of humanity in you, life lessons learned from the experiences you gained in your lifetime. I respect that you shared some of your past with us.

I hope that you are in a good place now in your life and peace and love is foremost in your mind. Thank you for this wonderful share..It moved me.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Wow! Oops tears.. OK, I am back.. Still tough..

Deep breathe...

As one as you know has experienced "...how MONEY, FAME, RECOGNITION can affect a persons life"; my life lessons are on-going.

My goal is to experience " in a good place now in your life and peace and love is foremost in your mind."

It is a dynamic process...

Thanks for your sincere, heartfelt comments. It moved me...


kohuether profile image

kohuether 6 years ago from New Hampshire

This was wonderful! I went to Berlin a few years ago and there is little that remains of that wall other than the Checkpoint Charlie museum. It must have been something to actually be there during when the wall came down.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

kohuether,

There was excitement in the air.. It was an historic moment.

Thanks for your comments.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 5 years ago from Los Angeles

I can see how this was a life changing experience for you and how it help you put into a new and larger prospective your own life and tribulations. For millions of people ment even more, but the entire world was excited and hopeful


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Petra Vlah,

Life is a process!

Thanks for your comments.


arthurchappell profile image

arthurchappell 5 years ago from Manchester, England

Very moving and honest testimony of the experience of the wall


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

arthurchappell,

Thanks, life is a process. We all die, but some of us live...


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 5 years ago from The East Coast

During a very difficult part of your life, you were able to get past a personal trauma and experience a universal truth that life is everchanging. No one expected the wall to come down and yet it did. We all have personal walls that we build up ourselves and if lucky we get to take it down as well. What an exciting time to be there.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Flightkeeper,

Life is a process...

Thanks for your comments.

Everyone dies, but some live...


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Well dallas, I suppose I am a groupie now: three hubs in two days, eh?

I thought you would be interested to know my Wall story. Four years ago, I took my son to his number one choice college: Chapman University in Orange. We walked the campus and at one point, stood beside an ugly chunk of concrete in the middle of a pool. I couldn't imagine why this structure existed.

My son headed off to a class and I took a guided tour for parents. To my astonishment- and chagrin- I learned that this bit of graffiti concrete had been part of the Berlin Wall. The transformation within me was immediate and I was reduced to tears; the power of symbol is that profound.

Thank you for experiencing life and sharing it with us.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Storytellersrus,

I obtained my Master of Arts - Administrative from Chapman! As you know Chapman's roots are deep and is one of the oldest University in California...

At Ronald Regan's Library, a piece of the Wall is on display. I have a piece of it!

As noted, the Wall was a trasformative experience..

Thanks for your comments!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I believe in Serendipity! That is amazing, dallas.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Storytellersrus,

So does the "universe!"

Thanks.


JAILTALK profile image

JAILTALK 5 years ago from Oregon

Great Quotes. You captured many of my feelings of being alone, losing everything, and pondering the true meaning of life. Thanks, Wendy


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

JAILTALK,

Obviously you have been there and done that... The experience provides a forum whereby you can feel free to explore who/what your are: with nothing. I have learned things I own, or do not own does not define me...


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

It's interesting that the Berlin wall oppressed people and kept them from freedom and prosperity and the wall in Israel protects Israelis and Arab citizens within from oppression and gives them freedom. Walls are not always evil and sad - it depends on who builds them.

I was pretty young at the time, but the most memorable moments on the news for me were the Challenger explosion and Reagan saying: "Gorby, tear down that wall."

Your awakening experience was captivating. I hope things have gotten better since. I love your unique perspective on that pivotal moment.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Alexander Mark,

The Wall was a pivital moment. Each of us were affected by the events that followed...

Life is what you do while you make plans!

Thanks for your comments.


wilderness profile image

wilderness 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

I remember when the wall came down; although I had never visited it was a great day.

I did, however, visit the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. but the visit didn't produce the euphoria yours did. Although the gas chambers are long cold now the inhumanity and horror came across all too well and when I exited it was to a darker day, not a lighter one. It was a visit I'm glad I made, but not one I care to repeat.

A good hub - thank you.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

wilderness,

Perhaps the expereience underlines our need to be ourselves, to be free!

Thanks for your comments


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

The Berlin Wall is close to my heart, it has been part of my living history, so thank you for your beautiful reflection and also big thanks for stopping by on my site with such an encouraging comment:)


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Beata Stasak,

Your passion for life shows! The Berlin Wall represents different things to different people. I had an epiphany there... It has changed my life...

Thanks for your comments!


cashmere profile image

cashmere 5 years ago from India

How amazing that you got to be a part of such an historic event. I remember being glued to the TV set when the news covered it. I was still in school and the adults were all talking about it and totally buzzed.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

cashmere,

I tried to go to Romania when they had their revolution at the same time and I was stopped at the border. Freedom is precious...

Thanks for your comments!


6hotfingers3 profile image

6hotfingers3 5 years ago

Great hub! I can see how the Berlin Wall could be used as a metaphor of your life at that time. As I read on, I also saw how you separated yourself from the pain and heaviness of life the wall represented. You moved on! I was also in East Berlin a year or two before you. It was a stark awakening about life's darker side and how people experienced it. Thank you for sharing this very fragile time in your life with us.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

6hotfingers3,

Your intuitive, perception is A-OK! Thanks for great comments!


femmeflashpoint 5 years ago

Dallas - in working my way through your hubs, I've just finished this one. It's one of the saddest yet most uplifting stories I've ever read. :)

What a special place to be in physically, and at such a wonderful yet awful time. That you turned it around, found a deeper realization of yourself and your situation, as well as that of others, made for a beautiful outcome.

This was a very touching situation to share with all of us.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

femmeflashpoint,

This and similar experiences has provided an opportunity to learn. Failure is a definition of an event. I choose to make them building blocks... one-step-at-a-time...

Thanks for your comments!


mikeq107 5 years ago

" To be true to myself can be harmful to others if I am truly selfish, being true to me. I must balance my needs with others. "

Love what you wrote, very personal moment well caught!!!

Mike :0)


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

mikeq107,

Life is a process. I am a life learner.

Thanks for your comments!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

We were in Germany when the wall went up. Great story.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

It was a moving experience that has served as a constant remender of the importance of being free to do what you want!


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

I think one of the things that is so special about our Constitution is that it acknowledges that freedom is an inalienable (God given) right. Our founders felt that to withhold freedom from people can only be done by risking God's wrath! A good lesson here should be never to allow a government to take away a freedom in exchange for the illusion of security because you'll end up losing both!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Thanks for your comments!


Silkekarina 3 years ago from Germany

I can understand why the fall of the Berlin Wall has a fascination for many people (in the case of Hubpages mainly US Americans.) What I do not understand is why you consider this so personal? The people of Germany have long put this episode behind them and a great deal of the East Germans would not mind seeing the wall rebuilt. Their prosperity under capitalism has hardly improved (and this I know first hand). Through my life, and I was also born in 1944, I have noticed this hang of US Americans towards everything European and the need (in the case of catastrophes and war) to identify personally with them. Politically I understand the interest, emotionally, I don't. The hardship was not felt by the British, the French or any other Europeans, and most definitely not by the US Americans. Please do not take this personally, I have already had a few of my comments deleted, however, mainly from young hubbers who only want praise, no discussion. I would just like to understand something that eludes me. If it is just normal interest in the world, good, but why always the personal identification. Nevertheless, your hub was excellent.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 3 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Why I took this personal? Timing. At the time I felt I did not need anyone. The Wall experience provided a forum whereby I was able to appreciate what is and what can be.

The Wall can mean anything you/I want it to mean. My attempt was to share my "awakening," ...my personal growth that was nudged by my new "awareness" of me... of my own "freedom" to be me, to be vulnerable.. to accept what is and to go on... to learn from my past.

Each of us have opportunities to identify with things, incidents, historical events and etc. I am not aware of ethnicity having an affect upon how one grapples, and learns and experiences personal growth.

Perhaps if you could view from the lens of the Wall representing what we want, or need: not just the Berlin Wall as monument, or whatever...

Hope this helps!


Silkekarina 3 years ago from Germany

The Berlin wall was never a monument for me, on the contrary, the whole communist issue surrounding East Germany, Poland and all the other countries involved in this part of our history had a profound effect on my husbands' family. Many of his family, who were scattered after the war, did not live to experience true freedom again after Eastern Europe was divided and shared out among the existing nations. I suppose it would be like your family being divided into US Americans, Mexicans, Costa Ricans etc. without them having any heritage from these countries. It was interesting for me to read about the experiences of US Americans who had visited the Wall. Words like inspiration, calm, uplifting and hope were often used. The people here, who were caught up in the war and the aftermath, have a different vocabulary for this wall. However, there are many others who are so disappointed with our free system they would like to see the wall re-built. Life is a paradox. Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 3 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Life is a process. Our resiliency defines who/what we are!

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