And the crowd knew what it wanted. Within moments, thousands began to pour through the checkpoint. They simply walked or, in most cases ran, into West Berlin. The sensation of running freely over the bridge, of crossing a border where such an action, just days or even hours before, would have courted near-certain death, brought a surge of exhileration that, if we are to believe those who were there, all but changed the chemical composition of the air and turned it into champagne.
Large crowds had already gathered on the Western side. They greeted the Easterners with cries of joy and open arms. Many improvised toasts were drunk. By midnight, all the border checkpoints had been forced to open At the Invalidenstrasse, masses invaded from the West and met the approaching Easterners in the middle.
The above paragraphs are from a book that I'm just finishing up. The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor, pages 427-428. This scene is from the night of 9 November 1989 when the Berlin Wall was finally breached. I remember that very night precisely. Having been to Berlin myself, and having actually stayed in a hotel on the former East side, this story brings back powerful memories. Especially because this is Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S. I thought it was a perfect story of freedom to commemorate Memorial Day. Have you felt some of those same feelings expressed in the paragraphs above? Have you ever felt such freedom before?