Today is unity day – it’s 20 years ago today that Deutschland was stitched back together, and although perhaps not as famous in visual terms as the fall of the wall – the official date of reunification is marked today for various historical reasons.
It’s always nice to be able to say, “I was there” – and I remember it well, I remember the endless fireworks of this day and the fall of the wall earlier in 1989, I remember the god-awful trabants and the sudden politicisation of tone: some people made a real and conscious effort to talk about ‘Germany’, whilst others clung doggedly to West Germany.
Contrary to popular myth now, many people didn’t welcome reunification warmly – yes there was widespread belief that it was ultimately the right thing, but many people were (possibly rightly) afraid of what the ‘ossies’ might bring: some to this day still are – And while it’s fair to say that East & West Germany still have some very different ways of doing things.
Like any other nation in Europe it has problems it wishes and needs to resolve, all told though unification has heralded a period of strong economic and cultural growth, and Germany is now more respected and (legitimately) stronger politically than it’s been in it’s entire history. Long may this continue!