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OK... I was sent to Berlin for a couple of weeks of training with my company. I was lucky enough to be sent here during the German Reunification Day. I took some pictures I would like to share with the folks back in the US...

Even though I am not German, I had a number of tears during the ceremony. Afterwords, I got to thinking that maybe if we had done this in our country, we may not have red states and blue states... But then, we weren't taken over by another (so-called hostile) government...

Please follow me over the jump for some really neat pictures...

At Brandenburger Tor (the Brandenburg Gate, east side...)


The Daughter (which represents the East Side) is brought over...


The father is reunited with his daughter...


Father and daughter embrace...


Father and daughter (East and West) reunited...


The whole ceremony was really moving and brought tears to my eyes. We have been blessed here in the US, we have never known what it is like to have our country split apart by a war and have "enemies" keeping our country split apart for many years. We didn't have to risk our lives to go from a communist country to freedom. When our Civil War ended, we never made up. North and South became one country again but we were never brought together like father and daughter...

After the ceremony, I decided to join the celebration on the West side of the Brandenburger Tor. I saw the Kennedy Museum and saw this picture...


The caption on the TV screen inside (for those of us who don't speak German very well) said "President Barack Obama, following the path of the Kennedys... This inspired me as well as gave me fear. I realize (as a 40-something Gen X'er) that the Kennedys gave much hope and did many good things for our country in terms of things like science and Civil Rights... I also realize the path that JFK took to Arlington National Cemetery... That scares me to death...

Please tell me this is in praise and not fortune telling...

Originally posted to Laurie Gator on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:29 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Winds of change (5+ / 0-)

    That had to be a fantastic trip and an historic feeling to share that time with the people of Germany.

    If God had been a Liberal, we wouldn't have had the ten commandments. We'd have had the ten suggestions.

    by funluvn1 on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:33:34 PM PDT

  •  I went to school in Germany in the mid-70's. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nespolo, Amber6541, Laurie Gator

    It was West Germany at the time, though we did have a terrific trip to East Germany (which was ULTRA-rare in those days!), and I visited Berlin (East and West) twice.

    In those days no one on either side believed they two Germanys would ever be reunited, so, in their eyes, it was truly a miracle!

    I am glad you were able to have such a special experience, Laurie Gator, and thank you for sharing it with us.

    "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT

    by BeninSC on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:47:57 PM PDT

    •  I am still amazed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that I am in a hotel on the old "East Germany" side. I never knew what it was like to live in a split country. What I have learned from the people here is AMAZING...

      I don't think I can ever take for granted what we have in the US...

      •  In some respects, East Berlin then felt more free (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nespolo, Laurie Gator

        Because there was no wall all the way around East Berlin. The only wall they experienced was between East Berlin and West Berlin. When we were in East Berlin we could have bought train tickets for all points east, all the way to Moscow, if we wished. Of course, we could have never GONE there, without appropriate papers - as Westerners we'd have stood out like sore thumbs - but there was nothing stopping us from trying. Meals in East Germany were super cheap, due to the relative exchange rate, and we had to spend a minimum amount of money there for each visit (it is how they obtained super valuable western currency), so we did the meal thing there several times. The contrast between the bright lights and high energy of KuDamm and the relatively underdeveloped eastern side was stunning, and I'd be surprised if that has totally turned around, even with the reunification. You can tell me. ;)

        "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT

        by BeninSC on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:00:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have to be honest (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I am staying in the old "east Germany" and work over here. I do commute into the City Center of Berlin a couple of times per week to be a tourist. Honestly, the grocery stores are like they are back in the US (although wool sock yarn is quite cheap) and the food is wonderful. There is still the "socialist" thing going on at the cafeteria at work (charging less than the meal is worth and getting a really good meal) and you can still see some of the "soviet style" of architecture over here...

          The thing that tipped me off were the overhead wires on the cable cars... Apparently they did away with that in West Germany in the 70's...

          •  I love traveling to Berlin (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurie Gator

            I have stayed at the Radisson Hotel in E. Berlin twice. I can't tell you how many times I have had to pinch myself because there I was, walking around on my own or taking a tour and learning all about E. Berlin at the time when it was closed off. Berlin is one of those cities that I never knew what it looked like growing up, unlike Rome, London or Paris. The only photos I ever saw of Berlin were those taken when it was completely devastated or photos taken prior to WWII.

            I have always enjoyed going there.

        •  Actually East Berlin is now the swanky part (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BeninSC, Laurie Gator

          After reunification, so much money poured into East Berlin, that East Berlin has now completely gentrified, and most of the old Ossis now live in West Berlin, which is quite shabby.

          All the trendiest areas and most expensive areas are now in the East. A first-time visitor might get confused as to which part of town was under Communist rule and which side wasn't.

          •  I do recall hearing that the telecommunications (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurie Gator

            upgrade meant that the East got totally new, state of the art systems, so communications were better there.

            Thanks for the update, lp!

            "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT

            by BeninSC on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:41:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I think that caption (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BeninSC, Laurie Gator

    "Auf den Spuren der Kennedys," might refer to a life dedicated to public service, as was the case with JFK, RFK and Teddy.

    It could also refer to Kennedy's visit to Berlin where he said "ich bin ein Berliner."

    The ceremony near the Brandenburger Tor looked nice. Who would have thought that it would be open again, and host such an event?

    J'aurais dû me méfier des vents qui tourbillonnent
    De ces pierres qui taillent cachées sous l'eau qui dort (F. Cabrel)

    by sersan on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 03:55:24 PM PDT

  •  I notice you're blaming West Germany (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurie Gator

    From keeping the two sides from being reunited.   Dear Leader says the same thing about the US about keeping South Korea from being reunited with the North.

    Is this sentiment common in Germany, that the US was hostile towards Germany and that kept the Soviet Union from reuniting the two sides?

    •  I am not trying to hold any blame (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sersan, BeninSC

      I was still a child when Germany was divided. (my son was less than a year old when the WALL came down)

      I have learned many things while I have been here... Just living in the US did not teach me what "really" happened over here...

      •  Maybe you should know what they're celebrating (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurie Gator

        It is political and know which side did the right thing.

        •  Define "right"... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Late Boomer

          I know in my experience, the side we are on tends to be "correct".

          I like our system and its freedoms. I like the fact that I can post really cool pics of something I have had the opportunity to experience to a website. 25 years ago, I would not have had this opportunity in East Germany from a technological standpoint and from an ideological standpoint...

          I am just sharing some pics and letting folks know that it has been 20 years since The Wall has come down. Some of us have forgotten what is was like to have an East Germany and a West Germany. Some of us are too young to remember an East Germany and a West Germany (like my son)...

  •  Just like many other soldiers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Laurie Gator

    I did my time on border guard during my 4 years in the FRG.

    You may not agree with me but one day you will die. All I need to do is win the hearts and minds of your children and I win.

    by Void Indigo on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:15:04 PM PDT

  •  OK, I don't usually post and run (0+ / 0-)

    but it is 1:15 am here in Berlin... I hope everyone enjoys the pics I have posted. I am sorry that I am not able to respond to any more posts but I think this diary will fall to obscurity very soon... I will check it when I wake up...

    Happy Saturday to everyone!

  •  The Berlin Wall (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurie Gator

    ...was torn down 20 years ago. But the mental wall - between east and west - still exists. Many "Ossis" don't feel like full-fledged citizens of united Germany. It may take another generation.

    The opposite of "good" is "good intention" - Kurt Tucholsky

    by DowneastDem on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 04:39:04 PM PDT

  •  The DDR did almost everything wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurie Gator

    But their national anthem was much nicer (musically and lyrically) than the BRD's is.  If the BRD could adopt one thing from the DDR, it should be the anthem.

  •  Germany has only been unified a short time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Late Boomer, Laurie Gator

    Germany has only been unified between 1871-1945 and now 1991-2009.  And even then, many regions of German ethnic and cultural predominance have not made it in, Bohemian Sudatenland, Polish Prussia, Estonian and Latvian holdings. Prussia, which unified Germany in the 19th century around the Prussian power center in Berlin, was severely truncated in the 20th and its main city, Danzig, is now Polish Gdansk, while Koninsberg is Russian Kaliningrad. Also Alsace Lorraine, the bitter battlefield of two World Wars, seems to be permanently lost to France. So the daughter came back missing an arm and a leg, to follow their analogy. At the same time, arguably all the lands east of the Oder are not historically German, they are Slavic lands conquered in brutal genocidal Crusades during the Middle Ages. German nationalism is in many ways still in its adolescence, not fully developed or understood, but already haunted by the specters of the past.

    Of course we will have Fascism in America, but we will call it Democracy. - Senator Huey Long

    by Marcion on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 06:33:08 PM PDT

  •  Following the path of the Kennedys... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurie Gator

    Let's not spend a lot of time worrying about our President.  I think the Secret Service is doing a very good job.  And he is such a good man.  I am glad that someone in Germany noticed this.

    It is in my mind every day how much we are blessed, even with our economic problems, our climate change problems, our health care reform.  It could be so much worse.

    I do not especially trust the South, because I think attitudinally they are little different from what they were: so conservative, in general, that even the Democrats vote as Republicans.  But I have a feeling that time and events will change some minds.  "If a single voice can change a room, it can change a city, if it can change a city..."  (Barack Obama.)

    I wish Germany healing of the wounds of a long separation, politically, economically, and socially.  Maybe the voice of success speaks so they can hear and become more unified.

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