Nov 8, 2009

The Wall

Twenty years ago this week I was standing over the Model 15 Teletype printer in my Utulei office on a Pago Pago harbor beach. Crowded around were Samoans, Europeans, and Mainland Americans. It was the only AP ticker on the island, the only source of current credible information on the amazing teardown of the Berlin wall.

My buddy the middle-aged Dane started crying. He tried to control it, couldn't, and left. Later he told me one parent was German and this entire side of his family had been locked in the Communist East since August, 1961. That's time enough for one generation to be be born and grow to adulthood while another one rots away and dies in a Peoples Republic where everything was decided by government for your own good. There was universal military service, universal government health care, universal employment, universal civilian gun prohibition, universal misery.

As I remember my friend's tears, I hope everyone can find a way to help our young people absorb the notion that things like The Berlin Wall are very real with very human consequences. They are not made for teevee movies.

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