Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which for more than 28 years divided East and West Germany and became the defining symbol of the Cold War. On November 9, 1989, following a series of large protests that swept throughout Eastern Europe, East German officials hurriedly changed travel regulations to the West, for the first time allowing regular citizens to cross. The rules were supposed to take effect the next day, but East Germans swarmed the border stations and, as it became clear border guards were no longer willing to shoot, the gates were finally opened. Crowds from both sides began demolishing the wall, and for months Berlin resonated with the sound of people pecking away at the concrete.
To commemorate the anniversary this weekend, Berlin installed a “border of light” made up of 8,000 illuminated balloons tracing where the wall once stood.
“Remembrance belongs to the people,” the installation’s creator, artist Marc Bauder, said. “We want to offer individual access instead of a central commemoration.” Tonight, exactly 25 years after the opening of the border was announced, the balloons will be released into the air.