51 years ago today.
Soviet-bloc communism disabused us of a lot of ideas, including pointing out that when the amplification was turned up a lot, even Robert Frost could be wrong in the voice of his farmer and neighbor character, because high, concrete and concertina wire fences don’t make good neighbors.
Of course, even in demonstrating Frost in error, the communists made the opening clause of “Mending Fences” more poignant: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall . . .”
Residents of Berlin awoke on August 13, 1961, to discover that the Soviet-dominated East Germany had begun constructing a wall across Berlin, to keep East Berlin residents from escaping the clutches of communism and walking to freedom in West Berlin.
This year I saw a mock up of part of the Berlin Wall next to an exhibit honoring Winston Churchill at the Trout Museum of Art in Appleton, Wisconsin. A few days later I saw actual portions of the wall, mounted for permanent display at the National Churchill Museum on the Churchill Center in Fulton, Missouri. A few days later, I saw more sections of the wall, with one of the 300+ guard towers, at the Newseum, in Washington, D.C. On Each occasion I was reminded of my own trip to the Wall in 1987, finding next to the boarded-up Reichstag eight wreaths, honoring the eight people who were known to have died trying to cross the wall in the previous six months.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. That something is freedom.
Please see other Bathtub posts on the topic:
- “Berlin Wall’s 50th anniversary”
- Berlin Wall’s 46th
- Berlin Wall’s 45th
- “Kennedy said we are all citizens of Berlin”
- Quote of the moment: John Kennedy, June 26, 1963
- Cold War hero Günter Schabowski
- “20 years ago the Berlin Wall fell — reverse domino effect” (November 9, 2009)
And remember the poet’s telling, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”
- Great Divide: The Birth of the Berlin Wall (life.time.com)
- The Berlin Wall (socyberty.com)
- the wall (ourownsweettime.com)
- By 2023, most people will be too young to remember the Berlin Wall! (rightsaidjames.wordpress.com)
- Comic book on Germany’s painful past targets youth (gulfnews.com)
- Project to name victims killed at Cold War border (thelocal.de)
- Tear Down That Wall! (sarasmusings.wordpress.com)