Today is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. My husband and I have visited Berlin three times and it remains my favorite city in the entire world. To be present in a place where the energy is vibrant and almost palpable yet still shows the scars of its storied past on nearly every corner is a fascinating dichotomy. But what fascinates me the most about this city is that The Wall fell peacefully. The power of the people, not weapons, made The Wall come down. This is something I don't think we study enough in history. We anchor our units of study around wars, but what happens when conflict doesn't result in war? Isn't that more worthy of a careful examination? We say that those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it, but if all we study are the wars, what does that say about what we value?
I will remain fervent in my insistence that the Cold War is my favorite era of history to study for the simple fact that it ended peacefully. Not only that, but it shows We the People have the power to make change -- a message of inspiration those of us in education really need right now.