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November 9, 2009
Berlin wall anniversary
BERLIN (AP) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev crossed a former fortified border on Monday to cheers of "Gorby! Gorby!" as a throng of grateful Germans recalled the night 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall gave way to their desire for freedom and unity. Within hours of a confused announcement on Nov. 9, 1989 that East Germany was lifting travel restrictions, hundreds of people streamed into the enclave that was West Berlin, marking a pivotal moment in the collapse of communism in Europe. Merkel, who grew up in East Germany and was one of thousands to cross that night, recalled that "before the joy of freedom came, many people suffered." She lauded Gorbachev, with whom she shared an umbrella amid a crush of hundreds, eager for a glimpse of the man many still consider a hero for his role in pushing reform in the Soviet Union. (20 images)

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Fireworks illuminate the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Monday, Nov. 9, during celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. AP / Wolfgang Rattay


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U.S. President Barack Obama is seen on video screens during a recorded video message transmitted in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 9, during the commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov.9, 1989. AP / Michael Sohn



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People watch the fireworks display in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Nov. 9, during the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wa AFP / Getty Images / Michael Kappeler



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Journalists with umbrellas stand in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Nov. 9, in Berlin, Germany. Approximately 1,000 dominoes, painted by schoolchildren and artists all over the world, are meant to symbolically represent the end of communist rule across Eastern Europe and are the highlight of celebrations in the German capitol marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Getty Images / Miguel Villagran



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The guests of honor walk through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 9, during the commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989. AP / Michael Sohn



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People shelter from the rain under umbrellas next to the individually painted dominos along the former route of the wall in Berlin on Nov. 9, as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. AFP/ Getty Images / Michael Gottschalk



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Young people stand next to the individually painted dominos along the former route of the wall in Berlin on Nov. 9, as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. AFP / Getty Images / Michael Gottschalk



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People crowd the individually painted dominos along the former route of the wall in Berlin on Nov. 9, as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. SAFP / Getty Images / Wolfgang Rattay



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Former Polish president Lech Walesa is about to push the first of the individually painted dominos along the former route of the wall in Berlin on Nov. 9, as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. AFP / Getty Images / Berthold Stadler



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Spectators watch as giant, painted styrofoam dominoes topple along the route of the former Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate on Nov. 9, in Berlin, Germany. Getty Images / Miguel Villagran



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Young people wave sparklers during celebrations in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Nov. 9, marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. AFP / Getty Images / Michael Kappeler



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People take photos of fallen domino blocks symbolizing the Berlin wall on the corner of the Reichstag in Berlin on Monday, Nov. 9, during the commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov.9, 1989. AP / Fabian Bimmer



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A woman looks through a gap in part of the former Berlin wall Monday Nov. 9, during a commemoration ceremony for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, at the wall memorial "Bernauer Strasse" in Berlin, Germany. AP / Fabian Bimmer



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Visitors arrive to place roses in cracks in a still-existing section of the Berlin Wall at the Bernauer Strasse memorial on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall on Nov. 9, in Berlin, Germany. Getty Images / Sean Gallup



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A couple attempts to peek through cracks and among roses left by visitors in a still-existing section of the Berlin Wall into the so-called 'death strip,' where East German border guards had the order to shoot anyone attempting to flee into West Berlin, at the Bernauer Strasse memorial on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall on Nov. 9, in Berlin, Germany. Getty Images / Carsten Koall



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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev cross the Bornholmer bridge in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 9, during the commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov.9, 1989. AP / Herbert Knosowski



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Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, center, signs autographs for a boy as Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit, right, looks on while crossing the Bornholmer Bruecke, Bornholm bridge in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 9, during the commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov.9, 1989. ) AP / Herbert Knosowski



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People are seen through an 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) high wall made out of ice, part of an art installation entitled 'Work In Progress' representing the Berlin Wall, near the German Embassy in central London, Monday, Nov. 9. The event was held to mark the 20th anniversary of East Germany's fortified border crumbling on the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, after 28 years holding in the country's citizens. AP / Lefteris Pitarakis



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A woman looks at an ice sculpture entitled "Work in Progress" outside the German embassy in London, on Nov. 9. AFP / Getty Images / Adrian Dennis



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A woman walks past a banner featuring a historic photo of the falling of the wall displayed at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin on Nov. 9, as Germany celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with many world leaders attending the festivities in Berlin to mark the event. AFP / Getty Images / Davide Gannon



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