Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Day for Hungary

In 1989 my family and I were living in Lausanne, Switzerland, when the earth beneath Europe began to shake. The fall of the Berlin Wall is what attracted the world's attention; but the necessary shaking had begun three months earlier when Hungary decided to open its border with Austria, allowing hundreds of people to flee communist Eastern Europe.

Twenty years later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is from formerly communist Eastern Germany, travelled to Hungary to thank the Hungarians for their courage at an event celebrating the so-called "Pan-European Picnic" on the Austro-Hungarian border. In Merkel's words, 'they gave wings to East Germans' desire for freedom.' What ensued was an irreversible domino effect such as the world has rarely seen, symbolized by the culminating fall of the Berlin Wall.

We have a piece of that wall. Just an ordinary piece of concrete -- but it's a simple reminder of a momentus event that changed history forever.

No comments: