A German diplomat says no one should underestimate what the fall of the Berlin Wall meant for Germany and for all who live under oppressive regimes.
German Information Center USA Director Bernd von Muenchow-Pohl says the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall at Westminster College in Fulton was a great experience. He says the enthusiasm of the students to celebrate an event that occurred before most of them were born truly impressed him.
Westminster students took part in a series of events leading up to the big celebration Monday night. As part of the celebration, the students created a temporary replica of the Berlin Wall, erected next to the sculpture “Breakthrough” created by Sir Winston Churchill’s granddaughter Edwina Sandys out of sections of the actual Berlin Wall. The sculpture sits next to the National Churchill Museum which commemorates the life of the British Prime Minister who made the phrase “Iron Curtain” famous in his 1946 speech given at Westminster.
Bernd von Muenchow-Pohl says the fall of the Wall 20 years ago was a great experience, one he anticipated would happen one day.
“Well, I believed that German division would not last and that the Wall would have to go,” von Muenchow-Pohl tells the Missourinet.
But von Muenchow-Pohl admits he didn’t expect it in 1989, recalling a conversation he had with a friend in Berlin about a month before the Wall came down. They made a bet. von Muenchow-Pohl bet that the Wall would come down in 20 years. His friend bet it would be gone in ten.
“Not only was I completely off the mark, but I’m sure he also would not have envisioned it happening so soon,” von Muenchow-Pohl says.
He says those of us who grew up in a free society take it for granted. He says for those who try to obtain freedom even now, the fall of the Wall gives them hope.
Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)
Download/listen Bernd von Muenchow Pohl speech at Westminster College (20 min MP3)