It's just a chunk of concrete. In 1989 we were living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Punk music, hot pink and black, and big hair were alive and well. So was the Cold War. During the summer of that year, the ground began to shake under Eastern Europe. The discontent with the Communist-controlled governments, themselves controlled by the Soviet Union, became more and more vocal. Citizens became more emboldened to express their discontent with oppressive regimes, poor standards of living, and restricted travel.
Finally, on November 9, the East German government announced that its citizens would be allowed to visit West Germany. In Berlin, a divided city since the end of World War II, thousands of people climbed atop and over the infamous Berlin Wall, the most well known symbol of the deep division between East and West. An excited and festive crowd on the other side awaited them, and friends and family who hadn’t seen each other in years were reunited. To this day I get choked up when watching this clip narrated by Peter Jennings.
Hundreds of souvenir hunters, including a friend of mine, chipped away at the wall with hammers to take a part of it with them. Although the above photo may look like nothing more than a chunk of concrete, it is a piece of that wall and one of our prized possessions. It symbolizes one of the most significant world events of my lifetime, and I consider myself fortunate to have been living in Europe at the time of the crumbling of that wall, followed by nothing less than the dismantling of communism in Europe.