I keep some small pieces of cement on my wall in a frame where I can see them every single day. They are pieces of the Berlin Wall.
And these little chipped rocks remind me daily of the difference between having Freedom and Not Having Freedom.
It was 25 years ago today that the Berlin Wall came down.
The day that millions of people would regain their freedoms after having been enclosed in a communist "paradise" for almost 30 years.
When the wall went up in August of 1961, the East German puppets of the Soviet Union told their fellow comrades that the wall was not to keep them from losing their freedoms--it was being done on their behalf--to stop them from being influenced and corrupted by those horrible Western Capitalist Dogs of Democracy.
In 1961 I was 8 years old. My understanding of politics as most children of the time was virtually non-existent.
But I understood the Wall on a child's level.
I knew that the children there were forced to wear drab-looking military uniforms to school, they couldn't read Superman comic books, there were no visits from the Good Humor man, they couldn't listen to Elvis on a transistor radio under their pillow at night, there was no Three Stooges on TV after school, they couldn't play on their Schwinn bikes with their friends and they could not read Mad Magazine.
And these things made me very, very sad. Children over there were slaves as much as the adults were behind this evil monstrosity.
From time to time I would see news reports about people risking their lives to get over that wall to freedom in West Berlin.
By 1963, it was amazing to watch our young and brave President JFK go over to West Berlin and speak on behalf of those people in East Berlin who no longer had a voice.
By early 1964, a worldwide phenomenon happened. And in East Berlin, whether you were a child or an adult, if you were caught listening to four young men over Radio Free Europe or Armed Forces Radio--John, Paul, George and Ringo--there were severe punishments.
It was illegal to own a smuggled-in Beatles record. They represented FREEDOM. And the East Germans would have none of that. Yet, they found it difficult to deal with the impact of the group on its younger citizens. For a while, the East Germans allowed the distribution of a sound alike band doing Beatles songs with German accents, political changes in the lyrics (isn't that scary?) but could not stop the demand for the real thing. By the 1970's, they actually started licensing some of the real music to be distributed--the secret was out about this band.
We have a new East Germany on the face of the planet. It is called North Korea.
I absolutely volunteer to straddle one giant nuclear missile and steer it right at Kim Jong Un's extravagant palace.