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A Fallen Wall

November 17, 2014

November 9, 1989, a worldwide known and dreaded symbol of tyranny, the Berlin Wall, fell.  Its rise and its fall were both hotly contested foreign issues.  Those building the Wall sought to seal their captives inside.  In time, it fell, not from some powerful force or plan, but rather from political momentum and, interestingly enough, miscommunication.  Most of Germany had no idea until the next morning.  Pieces of the wall are displayed in multiple parts of the world; symbolizing the innate power the human race possesses for the right to exercise free will.

It seems such a long-time since much of the world barely survived under communism.  Many tried and succeeded in escaping.  Many tried and failed.  When members of a family successfully escaped, those left behind were made to suffer, often terribly.  Key members, such as fathers, sometimes found themselves transported to Siberia.  Education or professional opportunities would most likely be denied.

Looking back, it seems only man’s imagination limited the means invented to escape.  Bribery, balloons, using one’s political position or resources, walking long distances, being a stowaway were among the many.  The common thread was danger, a danger from being found then killed, captured and returned only to face being disgraced. The communist used fear as its enforcer.  In time, even fear would fail them.

What is freedom?  A question often asked with less than clear answers.  Perhaps there cannot be found a simple, definitive quote that is all encompassing.  But a few statements from Jefferson certainly shed critical light upon our efforts to actively enforce and protect this precious gift.  Upon government’s responsibility to enact laws for the benefit of the governed, he wrote, "Laws abridging the natural right of the citizen should be restrained by rigorous constructions within their narrowest limits.” Writing with respect to governments most powerful and destructive tool against freedom, taxes, Jefferson continues, “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry, and that his father has acquired, [is] too much, in order to spare [give] to others who . . .  have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate, arbitrarily, the first principle of association, ‘to guarantee to everyone a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.’ ”
Man’s desire for exercising his free will is un-daunting, yet history so loudly speaks about a past willingness that after once obtained to just give it away.  What will we do with our gift, our time? May be for us [Americans] a recent quote from a western newspaper in closing its remembrance, prophetically predicts our future, it stated, “It also shows wars won't make the change. It is the hearts, it's the minds, it’s ideas, it’s principles, it’s values that make the difference."  We could not agree more.  Freedom is not free, but it is worth the cost!

Mark, Bill and John