I remember November 9, 1989 very well. I was living in Brainerd, MN, and I was a 7th grader at Washington Middle School. Though I can't remember the name of my 7th grade civics teacher, I do remember a few things: 1) He was hot, 2) He expected us to know what was going on in the world, 3) He gave me extra credit for reading Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, which fucked me up emotionally, 4) I found the first modern fantasy novel I ever read, Spellfire by Ed Greenwood, underneath my chair in his classroom, which has led to a life long fascination with Sci Fi/Fantasy, and 5) it was that Civics teacher that informed me that the Wall had come down.
He walked to the front of the class in some jeans that made his booty do a double bounce, and he said to us, "The world has changed forever, the Berlin Wall has come down."
Sometimes I take things a little too literally. I immediately looked out of the classroom window expecting to see something amazing...Unicorns humping in the middle of Oak Street, my church, which was just across the way, glowing with heavenly lights, or my Civics teaching floating on a cloud, naked, asking me to join him.
Instead my heart full of anticipation became a hard on of disappointment, the world looked exactly the same. But it wasn't was it?
By the end of that year a whole host of new countries or old countries with new freedom emerged in Europe, and I was pissed. I had just memorized all the countries of Europe and their capitals, and all of a sudden a half dozen new ones showed up without as much as a "How do you do?" Cheeky.
Later that night I returned home, and I watched video of the Knight Rider aka David Hasselhoff singing some stupid song on top of the Berlin Wall. The world had changed indeed.
20 years later Europe has moved to the edge of becoming one unified political structure, most of the European Union has adopted a single currency, old enemies are now new friends, and the new political closeness has bred an atmosphere where questions that were once taboo (such as the Armenian genocide) are now being asked and answered. I can't wait to see what happens next.