Rapid City in Pennington County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Berlin Wall Memorial
With hammers and chisels, thousands of enthusiastic "wall peckers" - mostly young people - struck the despised wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate until panels were pushed down and sections were broken out. Checkpoint Charlie was swamped by a flood of people. Bewildered East German border guards drifted with the current. Crowds were so large that guards could not process papers. People reaching the western side were welcomed to a huge street party. Jubilation, including Berliners dancing atop the wall, was televised around the world.
Official demolition of the wall began June 13, 1990. Segments went to depots and were recycled for use in road construction. On June 22 Checkpoint Charlie's wooden hut was lifted out and carted away.
East and West Germany were
Author Craig R. Whitney, reflecting on the success of the protesters, concluded: "…Amplified and made resonant by their courage and idealism, the clarion summons of human rights brought down communism, the Berlin Wall, and finally the Soviet Union itself. The power of the human yearning for freedom, so long and successfully suppressed behind the Iron Curtain, became an insurmountable force."
Sections of the Berlin Wall, which symbolize victory for freedom and the end of the Cold War, are scattered into all parts of the world; Hawaii's University in Honolulu, the German Embassy in Costa Rica, "Ripley's" Curio-Museum in Copenhagen, the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, the CIA Center in Washington, DC, the Lyndon Johnson Library in Texas, the Gerald Ford Library in Michigan and the Ronald Regan Library in California. All have pieces similar to the ones in Memorial Park. Many pieces were sold by auction in Monaco in June, 1990, to raise funds for the exhausted socialistic
The ruthless East German Communist regime was unable to roll back the tide of freedom washing over its people. Between October 27 and November 9, 1989, 300,000 East Germans fled to the West, mostly through Hungary. Soon, hoping to migrate, East Germans even stormed West German embassies in Prague and Warsaw.
Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev signaled to east Germany on October 6, 1989, that no soviet troops would come to suppress reform. On October 9 "a spirit of peace and non-violence" prevailed as 70,000, armed only with candles and hymn singing demonstrated in Leipzig. Because of the crowd's gentleness, East German guards never received orders to shoot. That night was the turning point. Later, Monday evening crowds in Leipzig swelled to 300,000. On November 4, 1989, one million people marched in East Berlin, silently signaling
Ronald Reagan, 1987, "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, Cold. In addition, it is included in the Berlin Wall, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #40 Ronald Reagan series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1990.
Location. 44° 5.172′ N, 103° 13.669′ W. Marker is in Rapid City, South Dakota, in Pennington County. Marker is on Mount Rushmore Road. The memorial is located in Memorial Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 434 N Mt Rushmore Rd, Rapid City SD 57701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Construction of the Wall (here, next to this marker); A City Divided (here, next to this marker); Confrontation (here, The Berlin Wall Memorial (here, next to this marker); The Cruel Border (a few steps from this marker); The American Commitment (a few steps from this marker); Berlin Wall Segments (a few steps from this marker); Tank Traps (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rapid City.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . . The Berlin Wall Memorial. (Submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 19, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 100 times since then and 13 times this year. Last updated on July 13, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.