Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Wall came down over time, but November 9th is the official date when it was OK to hammer away at it.
What did you think when the first images flashed around the world?
One image I remember was a sign, in German, that read, “Capitalism Wins!” Is that really the point, I thought? Is the world now safer for the spread of McDonalds, Levis, and Hollywood movies?
The fall of the Berlin Wall was a watershed moment in the transition of historic eras—from the Cold War with the world neatly divided into two giant camps—to a new and as we have since learned, scarier, world in which enemies are no longer found so easily by peering across a physical wall or a national boundary.
Now the walls are spider webs and the enemy is spectral and lives in shadows. War is psychological.
Is our all-volunteer army up to the task? The tragedy at Ft. Hood last week raised many questions, including the inevitable questions about possible terrorist links or religious motivations. Army investigations underway will shed light on the answers.
But one thing became clear over the past 24 hours: Much of the investigation seems focused on the psychological breaking point of the shooter at Ft. Hood. In fact, around the world our troops are at a breaking point, living with the constant stress of war, year after year—soon approaching a decade of armed conflict without much resolution in sight.
Yesterday, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey cited a new army study that finds that it takes at least two years to recover from the stress of one year in combat. Many of the troops at Ft. Hood have served multiple tours of duty. How many years will it take them to recover, if ever?
This Wednesday is Veterans Day. Perhaps a positive outcome of the Ft Hood tragedy will be a serious look at the plight of veterans and their families today.
Tell us: What do you recall from the fall of the Wall? What did it mean to you then—and are there connections with where we stand today?
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