This day in history

November 9, 2009 | NeW Staff

NeW’s Historical Update:

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall fell. The wall was built in 1961 to separate East Germany, governed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and the Federal Republic of Germany, West Germany. Put together by concrete blocks and lined with barbed wire, the wall separated families, businesses and lives practically overnight.

The world watched for nearly twenty years as the city of West Berlin became an inaccessible enclave surrounded by hostile territory. But when the wall dividing East and West Germany crumbled, new hope of German reunification filled the dusty air. Yet, the Berlin Wall not only represented the physical divide between a war stricken nation but also the symbolic divide of the global Cold War. 

For many, it is impossible to look back at the fall of the Wall without considering the profound words and impact of President Reagan. His famous command to Gorbachev, “Take down that wall,” remains practically synonymous with that historic day in 1989.

Critics today want to minimize Reagan’s role in ending the Cold War and paint him as a compromising leader who negotiated, rather than convicted, the leaders of the “evil empire.”  But the truth is President Reagan, while adaptive, was a leader who refused to compromise the core principles of freedom and liberty.

In remembrance of today, conservatives should look to our history for cues on moving forward. We should look to the fortitude of yesterday’s leaders who stood on conviction and principle, not translucent talking points. And while most students in college today read history books to learn of the Berlin Wall, the call to duty is still the same. Our generation’s collective duty is to fight for liberty and freedom on our campus and in our nation. 


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