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Freedom Center Hosts the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall Nov. 9
As Part of the International Celebration of Freedom Worldwide, Presented by Honorary Consul of Germany, Munich Sister City Association, Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council, University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
CINCINNATI – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) will commemorate the 25thanniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, November 9 at 3 p.m., with a public reception and Google + live streaming balloon release at the sight of the Berlin Wall Memorial, located in front of the Freedom Center.
The Cincinnati Celebration of Freedom Worldwide will take place at the NURFC which has housed a significant portion of the wall since 2010. The wall was a gift from the city of Berlin to Cincinnati and was organized by Cincinnati’s former Honorary German Consul. Through the efforts of many supporters, it was brought to the NURFC for all to reflect upon the courageous freedom heroes who, through courage, cooperation and perseverance, worked collectively to demolish a modern barrier to freedom.
Co-Chair of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Francie Hiltz notes, “Freedom is not a gift but a right to choose one's destiny, it must never be forgotten and always defended. At the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, we celebrate inclusive freedom, and the story of the Berlin Wall exemplifies this and serves as inspiration to fuel our quest for freedom worldwide.”
The Berlin Wall Memorial program began as an initiative of the German Embassy to educate and inform students about lessons learned from the history of the Berlin Wall. The memorial is the result of a partnership between the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the German Consulate, the Munich Sister City Association, The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council, University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University.
“We are fortunate to be the permanent home of an artifact from one of our recent, global struggles for freedom” says Clarence G. Newsome, Ph.D., president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “The memorial will continue to serve as a reminder that we can overcome oppression and inclusive freedom is attainable, as long as we learn the lessons of our predecessors.”
The segment’s public setting on the NURFC grounds faces the Ohio River, another former barrier to freedom in Antebellum America. Its placement there will serve as a permanent reminder to future generations of past struggles for freedom that are so often taken for granted. “The Berlin Wall, the structure that was once symbolic of inhuman repression, became a focal point of humanity’s aspiration for freedom,” said Richard Schade, Professor Emeritus, UC and Former Honorary Consul of Germany to Cincinnati. “The more than 87 foot-long barrier that once divided homes and families for a generation now serves as an icon for freedom.”
Sunday’s ceremony will feature choral selections from the Mayfestival Chorus Ensemble and a wreath dedication ceremony for those who lost their lives in an attempt to cross the wall. Remarks will be given by notable local and national leaders, including Mayor Cranley and William Howard Taft IV, great grandson of Cincinnati’s own President William H. Taft, who will speak on his experience as U.S. Ambassador to NATO when the wall was torn down. Attendees will then have the opportunity to join the international balloon releasing which will be streamed live on Google+.
The International Celebration of Freedom Worldwide on Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. is a free event, open to the public and presented by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in conjunction with the Honorary Consul of Germany, Munich Sister City Association, Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council, University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University. For more on this event and other 10th anniversary programming, visitwww.freedomcenter.org and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @FreedomCenter, #BerlinWall25, #freedomcenter.