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The Boston Globe



Don’t tear down this wall

In 1987, when President Reagan issued his famous challenge — “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” — the Berlin Wall was 96 miles long, a hideous concrete-and-barbed-wire barrier sealing off West Berlin from East Germany. Two years later, the wall came down, and Germany was eventually reunited.

Very little remains of what Germans called the “wall of shame.” Only a few sections, less than 2 miles in total, still stand in Berlin. The most notable of these is the East Side Gallery, a 1,400-yard segment running along the Spree River and what used to be the “death strip,” where scores of East Germans were killed as they vaulted the wall in a desperate lunge for freedom. Today the gallery is covered in murals, including the iconic “Fraternal Kiss,” which depicts the Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and East German Chancellor Erich Honecker kissing on the lips.

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