As I said earlier, I visited the Reagan Library in Simi Valley on Saturday. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing a portion of the Berlin Wall–its shape is rather reminiscent of the proportions of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but instead of a uniform black, it’s covered with some sort of flower-power design on what I assume was the West German side, and nothing but a large spray-painted “E” on the East German side.
My wife was in conferences all day, so I drove up there from Anaheim alone (with an earlier presidential moment of my own–my rented Lincoln was almost run into by a guy whose vanity tags read “HARDING”). I asked a fellow who was there with his wife and young daughters if he could take a shot of me in front of the wall. I think he was surprised that I didn’t smile, but how do you smile in front of a slab where so many people died trying to obtain their freedom?
I’ll try to post some additional photos of the library, but in the meantime, here’s the plaque in front of the wall, and photo of the West German side of the wall without my mug in the shot. And here’s what was the East German side of the wall.
Obviously, there are chunks of the Berlin Wall scattered all over the planet (and you can buy little bits of it as a memento–as I did in the library’s gift shop.) But the Reagan Library is a perfect place for this memorial–as nobody fought harder than President Reagan to bring the wall down. The sad thing is, more and more it looks Europe hasn’t learned the lessons of that period, or why it was built. As Steven Den Beste has noted in several posts, a united Europe should be an economic powerhouse. Instead, socialism killed 10,000 people this past summer in France–and is stifling Germany’s economy as well.