Outside the National Underground Railway Freedom Center is a tribute to the end of another type of barrier that kept people from being free. The Berlin Wall memorial is an actual piece of the concrete that separated the East and West sides of Berlin for over 25 years. The memorial honors “those who have died seeking freedom without walls,” including the 130 who perished trying to scale the wall itself.

I suspect that when the wall was erected, there were many who felt it was a necessary or at least logical thing to do. Yet, when the wall came down in 1989, there was a great celebration of freedom. “Liberty is the right to choose, freedom is the result of that choice,” reads one of the engravings at the site.

May we learn lessons from slavery and from Berlin and work hard to reduce barriers rather than erecting them, and to allow people to have freedoms instead of oppression. Start today by dismantling the figurative walls you have built around your belief system, and be open to listening to the voice of others.

“The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom,” reads a quote at the Memorial attributed to Lady Bird Johnson. Have a civil clash of freedom today.

beth triplett

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