Berlin Wall: Thousands of balloons released to mark fall

Source http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29974950

berlin

Some 8,000 helium balloons have been released into the night sky over Germany’s capital at the culmination of events to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the fall of the wall had shown the world that dreams could come true.

Tens of thousands of people attended events, including a “citizen’s party” at the Brandenburg Gate.

The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to stop people fleeing the communist East.

Its fall in 1989 became a powerful symbol of the end of the Cold War.

The white balloons – perched on 3.6m poles to match the height of the wall and stretching for 15km (nine miles) – were released one by one to symbolise its disappearance.

At the scene: Damian McGuinness, BBC News

For a weekend the balloons had become a part of the city, with Berliners strolling, jogging or cycling along the route.

Today not much of the Wall remains, and often you don’t even notice when crossing between East and West. That’s because, after 1989, Berliners wanted to destroy the much-hated barrier and rebuild their city.

But suddenly seeing the circuitous and often illogical line which tore through the city’s heart was a reminder of the insanity of using concrete to split a city in two, dividing neighbourhoods, friends and families.

Now the balloons have floated off into the sky, each one accompanied by cheers from the crowd – a shining and delicate symbol of peace and light, in stark contrast to the brutality of the heavy slabs of grey concrete. And a powerful reminder of how 25 years ago, under pressure from ordinary Berliners, this deadly barrier suddenly lost its threat.

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