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My Trip along the Berlin Wall

“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

It was just over 26 years ago, on June 12, 1987, when President Ronald Reagan stood in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and delivered this now famous challenge to the Soviet Union’s leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Only two years later, on November 9, 1989, after nearly three decades, the Berlin Wall came down. The “Iron Curtain” already had been lifted in the summer as East Germans flooded to the West through Hungary. Not long afterward, the Soviet Union itself crumbled as well.

While most of my friends are off sunning themselves in exotic locales for their summer vacation, I am on my annual historic bike tour. This week, I am cycling the 100 or so miles alongside the Berlin Wall Trail, which runs along the road used by East German border guards to keep their citizens from escaping to West Berlin — the U.S., British and French sectors.

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