A few fragments of perhaps the most recognizable structure of the Iron Curtain currently lie in Madison County’s library.
Small pieces of the Berlin Wall, which stood from 1961 to 1989, are on display this month in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall. The rubble still bares the graffiti that covered the historical barricade between East Berlin from West Berlin.
“Yeah, it is exciting to have it,” Madison County Library director Suzi DeGrasse said. “Some of the pieces still have the spray paint on them.”
These historic chunks were donated not long after the wall’s fall on Nov. 9, 1989, and DeGrasse discovered them a few years ago.
But she held off on an exhibit, waiting for the right moment to put them on display.
“I had known that they were here and I thought that putting them out for the 20th anniversary was appropriate,” DeGrasse said.
The donation predated her time at the library, but DeGrasse doesn’t think this is the first time the Berlin Wall remains have been on exhibit for the county.
The Berlin Wall display includes a photo of the Brandenburg Gate — at which former U.S. President Ronald Reagan made his famous,
“Tear down this wall” speech — and a historical explanation of the Berlin Wall, including a small summary about escape attempts.
“To clarify that, no, it wasn’t just a wall,” DeGrasse said. “It was not meant to be crossed. If you did, you would die.”
The display has already stirred some interest, especially among those who weren’t even been born yet when the wall fell.
“The teenagers have found it interesting,” DeGrasse said.
In connection with the 20th anniversary of the wall’s fall and Veterans Day, the library is also coordinating an origami crane peace project.
I am glad that we have this piece of a symbolic wall to share with our youth. This wall stood for the oppressive dictates of the communist way of life. I hope our youth can understand, via this piece, that when gov't has absolute power, as in a communist system, that nothing good can come out of it. Ronald Reagan knew that capitalism has brought more people out of poverty than any other economic system and the people of the former Soviet bloc finally understood this as well. Too many people's dismay, including some current US politicians, Ronald Reagan was instrumental in bringing down the wall and the dreaded Soviet Union.