Germany's capitol remembered as wall came down

Carson City resident Robert "Bob" T. Carter recalled standing at the Berlin Wall 10 years ago, chipping away with thousands of others to bring it down.

"It was something very exciting," the 82-year-old said of his visit to Berlin. "There were thousands of people filling the streets."

Carter, who is semi-retired and works at Scolari's part time, heard television accounts and read in local newspapers Wednesday of how the Germans marked the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Although Nov. 9 was not a national holiday - Germans had to go to work and school - more than 100,000 revelers joined in celebrations Wednesday night at stages set up along the former death strip that once split East and West Berlin.

Carter recalled that he had stood at the wall during the holidays, only a month after the fall. He said there were still so many people who just didn't know what to do. They were standing in the street looking at each other almost in disbelief.

"This was an exciting time of change," he said. "The people filled the streets, and they flooded through the gates. The place was so jammed when they opened the gates."

Carter said he chipped off a number of pieces of the wall and brought them back as souvenirs for friends.

"On the West Berlin side, there was nothing but graffiti," he recalled. "And on the east side it was spotless, of course, because of the death strip."

Carter said his son, Tony Carter, is a distributor of American products in Germany. Carter said he was visiting his son at the time. Carter worked as an insurance broker for 39 years, in Northridge, Calif., before moving to Carson.

"It felt great seeing it come down," Carter recalled. "Everyone was thinking how great it was coming down. The only feeling that existed was that everyone was thrilled."

He said that trips into East Berlin showed a marked difference in what changes had taken place during the Cold War.

Back in 1989, it seemed the partying would never stop. As East Germans crossed the Wall checkpoints in their exhaust-spewing Trabant cars, well-wishers pounded on the roofs. West Germans threw money at easterners to help them buy goods that were unseen in the former German Democratic Republic. One of the most popular items back then: bananas.

"There was one Woolworth's store," Carter recalled, "that was so full of people wanting items that they had not seen before. It was amazing."

He said the evidence between the two countries were stark however.

"I've not been back since," he said. "But, my son said that the difference still exist there. He's now a distributor all across the nation."


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