Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 9th, 1989

It had been another day of classes at the Non-commissioned Officer Academy, at Ft Leonard Wood, Missouri. I was there for the Combat Engineer Advanced Non-commissioned Officers Course (ANCOC). Those of us that got a lift in the shuttle van entered the barracks hallway and went to our rooms. We pretty much agreed to meet in the small commons area to head for the dining facility in about five minutes.
Upon entering our rooms, we all pretty much automatically turned on our televisions. They were all tuned to either MTV, the Weather Channel, or a news channel.
We were all senior NCOs. All of us had either done one or more tours in Germany or Korea. We all had a pretty good idea of what we could be called upon to do, in the event of a breach of the fences in either place. We jokingly, as had thousands of our predecessors, called ourselves "speed bumps".
We had performed border patrols, practiced our wartime missions (in sector), and generally knew what a terrifing amount of firepower, death, destruction, and pain was awaiting all forces, on both sides of the fences.
But, that was our job, and not a one of us was serving as a draftee. Volunteers all.
End pause.
Every door on the hallway slammed open.
All of us were standing in our doorways, staring at each other with a Cortezian "...wild surmise."
We moved as a group to the commons and spent the next several hours in front of the big television in that room, watching as The Wall came down. We watched as thousands of Berliners, East and West that morning, but just Berliners now, climbed on, over, and atop that hateful barrier of concrete and wire that snaked like evil thought through the heart of Berlin.
We watched people pick up sledgehammers and chip away at the face of The Wall. We watched whole sections of The Wall pulled thunderously down, to thunderous cheers.
We saw the world turned upside down, the world that we grew up in and served in, flip on its axis and reright itself in a new way.
To this day, I will proudly proclaim that, after forty-plus years of staring at each other, we (the West) outlasted those evil bastards on the other side of the fence.

That is what I remember about November 9th, 1989.

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