November 9, 1989

There had recently been some remodeling at my office, and a partition had been installed that blocked my window view. Trying to negotiate through the bureaucracy to get the partition moved was of course a big deal. I kept my wife apprised of the situation; in our conversations, I referred to the thing as “The Berlin Wall.”

On the evening of November 9, she came home late from work. I told her, “The Berlin Wall came down today!”

“The one in your office?”

“No, I answered, “the real one.”

An hour before, I had switched on the evening TV news at 6:30, as was my habit, and saw people dancing atop the wall. I will never forget that moment. I will never forget the images of people flooding through those gates, and whooping loudly in exhilaration at their sudden freedom. They had achieved it for themselves. The world changed that night, and became a new and better place.

There has been a lot of water under the bridge in the twenty years since, and some pessimists with their litany of negativism believe the world is actually worse now. They are wrong. We do not live in a perfect world, and never will. But the great sweep of history is a story of human beings making titanic efforts to improve their situation and the situation of everyone. November 9, 1989 was a shining milestone in that glorious eternal struggle.

And, yes, I did succeed in getting that wall at my office removed. I could look out again upon the world — more beautiful than ever.

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