We were riding our bikes through Berlin the other night, on the way home after a day full of events marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the afternoon, I'd typed for a couple of emotion-filled hours at the Berlin Wall Memorial.
Istean Ihm from Budapest came by and told me simply: "When the Wall came down, it was the best feeling of my life."
Radu Roman from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, said: "In my country, it was still Communist, and they didn't tell you anything about it."
And Daryl Lindsey from Berlin said: "I visited East Berlin in 1989, 5 months before the Wall fell. We had been indoctrinated in school about the evils of Communism and the East. And our first experience in East Berlin was a warm bowl of Soljanka for 2 Ost Marks. It was delicious and forced us to rethink everything we knew about the East."
And then in the evening, we watched the balloons be dispatched into the night. One by one, the wall faded away.
And so as we were riding home, my six-year-old daughter says: "mama, it's not that we should just remember about the wall. We should remember about the people from the old times and about the ones who died trying to get over the wall. To be with their families. That's what we should remember about."
It was dark, and cold, and I had to fight back tears as we rode through the night in East Berlin.
Photos by Dhanraj Emanuel.