Twenty years ago it fell. It was the symbol of intimidation, of subjugation of the entire world, one heartbeat away from total annihilation. The world called it the Berlin Wall, and for 27 years it was a visible sign of cancerous evil.

Before the wall was built, an unbroken line of barbed wire, gun towers and bunkers created, in Winston Churchill’s remarkable phrase, an Iron Curtain that extended from the North Sea to the Adriatic. Only Berlin remained open. In 1961, that too was closed, by the Berlin Wall.

Country after country was targeted for subjugation. In Korea and Vietnam, cold words turned into open warfare. The power that crafted these conflicts shifted between open warfare in eastern lands to intimidation in the West. In Berlin, the difference between freedom and tyranny was absolutely clear. It was the season of the Cold War, lasting 44 years.

Generations of Americans, Europeans and other lovers of freedom stood guard on the Iron Curtain and at the wall. One step from mass destruction, they resisted subjugation and tyranny. They faced that evil and said clearly, “No Entry” in Europe and Asia.

To every thing there is a season. This Veterans Day is the season to salute veterans of the Cold War. They served in Vietnam, Korea, Europe and many other lands. It is the season to say “thank you” to generations who were neither thanked nor welcomed home.

On Nov. 11, as the wall is remembered, thank those generations who made the fall of the wall possible and saved the world from annihilation.

Dave TheisMannheim, Germany

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