Not long after the Berlin Wall came down, my wife, Lexa, and I visited the city. We collected several small chunks of rough cement, relics of the barrier. About the size of a golf ball, they bore splotches of color, remains of the graffiti that had covered the wall.
When we returned home, we gave one of them to our friend Anthony Lewis, the admired New York Times columnist. In retrospect, I understand why. The Berlin Wall had stood through much of Tony’s prime, the perfect symbol of everything he opposed. That it was dismantled piece by piece, not by war but by a throng of humans desperate for democratic rights, embodied the triumph of all that Tony stood for. “I am with the party of hope,” he wrote in one column. Was he ever. An early commitment to furthering liberty guided him for decades — and also provided a standard against which a generation of other writers, including me, could measure their own commitments.