A selection of comments from ceremonies, remembrances of the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

“Sometimes people forget today how many could not leave (the country) for years, how many sat in prisons ... before the joy of freedom came, many people suffered.” - German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“My clairvoyant skills and those of (then-Chancellor Helmut) Kohl were up to nothing then. We did not think the wall would fall so fast.” - former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at a news conference.

“Now, we have to turn our attention to the challenges of the 21st century. A wall, a physical wall, may have come down but there are other walls that exist that we have to overcome and we will be working together to accomplish that.” - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The wall that had imprisoned half a city, half a country, half a continent, half a world for nearly a third of a century was swept away by the greatest force of all - the unbreakable spirit of men and women who dared to dream in the darkness, who knew that while force has the temporary power to dictate, it can never ultimately decide.” - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

“We praise the strength, the patience and the longing of the people who did not stop thinking of freedom and democracy in these dark times” - Joachim Gauck, former East German pastor who later oversaw the files of the former secret police, the Stasi.

“I don’t cry easily, but there have been three moments in my life, when I have followed world history on the TV and cried. When the Wall fell and was torn down, I was completely excited, emotionally stirred and simply just happy in the moment.” - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

“The remembrance of November 9, 1989, not to mention the remembrance of the horrific proceedings of the (Kristallnacht) pogrom on November 9, 1938, unmistakably teaches us: Walls - whether real or in the heads and hearts of people - walls do not solve any problems.” - Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of Germany's Bishop’s Conference.


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