The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years. On Saturday, Germany and many European countries celebrated their 30th anniversary as the scandalous barrier began to break.
Leaders from all over Europe attended a ceremony in Bernauer Strasse – one of the last areas of the wall that still remains – where they placed roses in the gaps of the wall to honor what it meant to their ancestors and country.
"The values that underpin Europe – freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, human rights – these are not taken for granted," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a commemoration ceremony.
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"This is a time of global change, so this is a pressing issue."
The Berlin Wall was built almost overnight in 1961 with barbed wire and barricades cutting through the city after nearly 2.5 million East Germans fled west. It has divided the country for almost 28 years and symbolizes the Cold War.
Many died in an attempt to overcome the barrier over the years.
Between the west side of the wall there was a great contrast that had free press, travel and elections, and the eastern communist country that had travel restrictions, barbed wire and ruthless secret police.
The wall fell on November 9, 1989, after the German Democratic Republic announced that travel restrictions would be lifted for East Germans.
Crowds waved the blockade, destroying parts of the wall in the event of an event that meant freedom for all Germans and the end of the Cold War.
Axel Klausmeier, head of the Berlin Wall memorial site, recalled the Germans in a dream state as they hugged each other on this day, many tears of joy weeping.
A statue honoring Ronald Reagan – who was president during much of the Cold War in the 1980s – was also unveiled on site overlooking the area where he made the iconic speech in 1987, calling on the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to open the barrier.
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"If you are seeking liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," he said famously.
Concerts and public debates highlighted the planned holidays throughout the city, as well as a concert at the Berlin Gate of Brandenburg.
In Paris, a French chocolate sculptor celebrates a historic occasion by grabbing a hammer and smashing a chocolate replica of the Berlin Wall to the delight of viewers.
"It's amazing 200 pounds of chocolate have passed in minutes," says Chocolatier Patrick Roger.
In Germany, Markel hopes the lessons learned at a time when the German people were divided should be a historical teaching tool for other people of today.
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"The Berlin Wall, ladies and gentlemen, is history and it teaches us: Not the wall that protects people and restricts freedom is so high or so wide it can't be torn down, "she said.
The Associated Press contributed to the report