Berlin Wall's fall stokes memories of lost hopes in Russia (copy)

In this Sunday, Nov. 12, 1989, file photo, Berliners celebrate on top of the wall as East Germans flood through the dismantled Berlin Wall into West Berlin at Potsdamer Platz. 

Events this week in Omaha and elsewhere mark the 30th anniversary of an inspiring event: the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. In short order, Eastern Europe moved out of Soviet domination and into freedom. It was one of world history’s most momentous and encouraging developments.

Thirty years on, the countries freed from Soviet control face challenges and engage in spirited political debate. But the decisive changes of 1989 opened the way to all-important political and economic freedoms. Eastern Europe nations, including the Baltic republics on Russia’s doorstep, are now protected under the NATO umbrella.

Communist regimes carried out horrendous oppression during the Cold War, including the strangling of freedom efforts in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968, as well as the all-pervasive spying on citizens in East Germany.

What a welcome change 1989 achieved, when the arrival of long-sought freedom consigned such abuses to the dustbin of history.

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