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Rapid City in Pennington County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Celebrating Victory

The Berlin Wall Memorial

 
 
Celebrating Victory Marker Panel A. image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 10, 2017
1. Celebrating Victory Marker Panel A.
Inscription.  
Panel A.
On November 9, 1989, to stem the flow of refugees, desperate Communist leaders announced amid chaos that they would issue passports to all East Germans, allowing them to come and go as they pleased. That evening hundreds of thousands of celebrating East Berliners peacefully swarmed past the Berlin Wall crossing points.

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
Celebrating Victory Marker Panel B. image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 10, 2017
2. Celebrating Victory Marker Panel B.
reunited October 3, 1990, and all four occupying forces prepared to withdraw from Berlin after almost a half century of occupation. Berlin became one city again. American forces were completely withdrawn by September 1994.

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."

Picture captions:

East German police and West German citizens watched as workmen dismantled sections of the Wall near Checkpoint Charlie.

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
Celebrating Victory Marker Panel A. image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 10, 2017
3. Celebrating Victory Marker Panel A.
health care system in the former East Germany. At this auction, each piece sold for $12,000 to $115,000.

Panel B.
Churches became oases of freedom because they were the only places where East Germans could legally discuss politics without overt interference. In 1983, Leipzig's Nikolai Church began Monday "Prayers for Peace" services which, some say, provided the spiritual spark that ignited East Germany's peaceful revolution. By 1989, reformers gathered in churches in most major East German cities.

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
Celebrating Victory Marker Panel B. image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 10, 2017
4. Celebrating Victory Marker Panel B.
with their feet that they wanted peaceful change.

Picture captions:
Systematic disassembling of the wall began in February, 1990, as hundreds of onlookers gathered to observe. By November, 1990, the wall had been destroyed - a million tons of rubble. Some of the concrete was used for rail track and road construction. Some sections of the wall, such as the ones in Rapid City, were shipped to locations around the world to be displayed as symbols of victory and freedom.

Ronald Reagan, 1987, "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
 
Erected 1996.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Berlin Wall marker series.
 
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, next to this marker); The Berlin Wall Memorial
The Berlin Wall Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 10, 2017
5. 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.)
 
Categories. War, Cold
 

More. Search the internet for Celebrating Victory.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 19, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. 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.
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