In the summer of 1989, I was 16. I watched with great interest the massacre of Tianamen Square. All those people wanted was freedom; and I prayed for that man that stood defiantly in front of the column of tanks. In Europe thousands of East Germans, under the hope of Perestroika and Glasnost began to flood in to the West German embassies in Hungary and Czechoslovakia with the hope of gaining admission to West Germany, and their freedom. It was an eventful summer; I wondered what would be the eventual outcome. I prayed for all of those people. I prayed that somehow they would be free.
Then school started and I sat in my German class every day conjugating verbs, learning to say the weather and tell the time in German and European geography. The one sentence from our geography drills that stood out in my mind was, “Die Hauptstad von Bulgarien ist Sofia.” The capitol of Bulgaria is Sofia. More on that in a minute.
Then November started, and despite their best (or maybe worst) efforts the Communist leaders of East Germany lost control. On November 9th, they issued a badly worded pronouncement that anyone wishing to travel to the West would be granted immediate passage. The aparatcik that made this announcement didn’t really know what he was saying, and announced that even West Berlin would be accessible to East Berliners.