Yearning for freedom brought down Berlin Wall, says Merkel

Sat Nov 8, 2014 5:23pm EST
 
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday an irrepressible yearning for freedom brought the Berlin Wall tumbling down 25 years ago and called it a "miracle" that the Cold War barrier was breached without a shot being fired.

Speaking on the eve of Sunday's celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's collapse, Merkel said Germany would always be grateful for the courage of East Germans who took to the streets to protest the Communist dictatorship.

"It was a day that showed us the yearning for freedom cannot be forever suppressed," Merkel said in a speech in Berlin.

"During the course of 1989 more and more East Germans lost their fears of the state's repression and chicanery, and went out on the streets. There was no turning back then. It is thanks to their courage the Wall was opened."In a country with few cheerful anniversaries to celebrate after its belligerent 20th century history, Germans have latched onto memories of the peaceful East German revolution that brought down the Berlin Wall on a joyful Nov. 9, 1989.

More than 100,000 Berliners and tourists wandered along a 15-km route in the city center on Saturday where the Berlin Wall once stood, and 7,000 illuminated balloons are now perched 3.6-metres high on poles - matching the height of the Wall.

The artistic display of balloons, which dramatically illustrate how the Wall snaked through the heart of the city, is also porous to enable people to easily move back and forth between the former East and West Berlin. The balloons will be released on Sunday to symbolize the Wall's disappearance.

MIRACLE NO ONE HURT   Continued...

 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a news conference after talks in Berlin November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Hannibal