Anniversaries

Berlin Wall Fell 20 Years Ago

On November 9, 1989, Politburo spokesman Guenter Schabowski rocked the world during a news conference when he offhandedly mentioned that East Germany was lifting restrictions on travel across the border into West Germany, a statement that led to the downing of the Berlin Wall that evening. On Monday, Germany celebrates the 20th anniversary of the event. One thousand large plastic foam dominoes will be placed along the wall's route and tipped over to commemorate the 136 people killed trying to cross the border into West Germany, and in the evening, thousands of people are expected to gather at the Brandenburg Gate. The leaders of all 27 European Union countries are expected at the ceremonies, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel kicked off with a prayer service in an East Berlin church where opposition activists gathered in 1989. President Obama is attending the ceremonies, during which he expects to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.