On Nov. 9, 1989, East Germans came in droves, riding their sputtering Trabants, motorcycles and rickety bicycles. Hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands crossed over the following days.The WSJ has a good short piece on that wonderful day – for me, the event that marked the end of the Cold War.
Stores in West Berlin stayed open late and banks gave out 100 Deutschemarks in "welcome money," then worth about $50, to each East German visitor.
The party lasted four days and by Nov. 12 more than 3 million of East Germany's 16.6 million people had visited, nearly a third of them to West Berlin, the rest through gates opening up along the rest of the fenced, mined frontier that cut their country in two.
Sections of the nearly 100 miles of wall were pulled down and knocked over. Tourists chiseled off chunks to keep as souvenirs. Tearful families reunited. Bars gave out free drinks. Strangers kissed and toasted each other with champagne.
The United States played a large role in making this delicious moment happen. Many individual Americans, myself included, cherish this signature accomplishment – and will remember and ponder it today.
Our President will not.