On August 13th, 1961, East German troops set out to close the border between East and West once and for all with the construction of the Berlin Wall. This one-124 mile expanse of barbed wire and concrete changed the tone of the Cold War and remains a powerful symbol to this day.
For 28 years, the Wall managed to almost completely cease all communication between the people on either side of it. Scores of families were divided, and East Germans in particular had no way of crossing beyond this now physical manifestation of the Iron Curtain. More than 100 people died trying to cross, and though precious few ever made it they kept trying. Presidents spoke there. And when it fell in November of 1989, people rejoiced.
It still matters today. It matters because there are plenty of walls being erected around and between people to this day, though they aren't the barbed wire variety. It happened in Egypt, it's happening in the UK. Some would argued it's happened here as well. Thankfully we needn't dig tunnels and fly planes to talk to the people we care about. But the Berlin Wall remains a reminder that this kind of oppression must be fought in all its forms, concrete or otherwise.[The Atlantic, Vimeo]