The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be celebrated with a week of activities at the site of the largest existing whole section of The Wall in the world outside of Berlin at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. The celebration will culminate Monday, Nov. 9, with a tearing down of a replica of The Wall in the shadow of the existing Wall at 6:53 p.m., the time when The Wall came down 20 years ago.
Eight sections of the actual Berlin Wall were shaped into the sculpture “Breakthrough” by Sir Winston Churchill’s granddaughter Edwina Sandys and placed on the Westminster campus next to the National Churchill Museum, a state-of-the-art, interactive exhibit commemorating the life and achievements of Churchill. Westminster College was the site of Churchill’s historic “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946.
“We want to open our campus to the world on this historic night as a reminder of what a defining moment the fall of The Wall was for freedom loving people everywhere,” says Dr. George B. Forsythe, Westminster’s President. “Berlin was my first assignment during my years in the U.S. Army and the night The Wall fell, my wife Jane and I wept with joy, knowing that The Cold War was coming to an end.”
Forsythe retired a Brigadier General after 35 years of commissioned service that included nine years as Vice Dean of Education at West Point and leadership of the national team that developed the plan for the National Military Academy of Afghanistan.
In preparation for the week, the Westminster History Club will lead construction of eight replica sections of The Wall where people from the campus and community can post graffiti. Five panels will be placed on the Westminster campus. One panel will go to Westminster’s sister school in Fulton, William Woods University. One panel will be erected in the downtown area of Fulton for community participation, one at the Fulton High School, and the last panel will be rotated through the elementary middle schools in Fulton for students to post graffiti.
Then the panels will be assembled at Latshaw Plaza on the campus, parallel to the actual Wall, so they can be knocked down at the exact time Nov. 9 when The Wall was opened in Berlin.
The Nov. 9 celebration will begin on Latshaw Plaza at 4 p.m. with a Westminster social for faculty, staff and students where German food will be served.
At 6 p.m. the actual program will begin for the general public. The German Honorary Consul of St. Louis Lansing Hecker will be in attendance to speak. Those in attendance will receive pieces of the actual Berlin Wall to commemorate the evening.
“We invite people from everywhere to come together with us at Westminster just as they did in Berlin on that night 20 years ago to celebrate this historic event,” says Forsythe.
A Freedom Without Walls Art Contest will also be held in advance of the Nov. 9 commemoration. Participants in four divisions—Westminster students, other college students, secondary school students and elementary school students—will be asked to create posters that answer the questions “What does freedom mean to you?” and “What would a world without walls look like?” Posters will be on display at the Monday night celebration and prize winners will be announced.
A debate will be held the preceding Saturday in conjunction with the anniversary on a topic related to Churchill and The Cold War. Numerous colleges and universities have been invited to participate.
Two Lunch and Learn sessions will be held on campus before the celebration. Professor Sam Goodfellow, who has spent a great deal of time in Germany, will explain “How The Berlin Wall Came Down” from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the Marsh Jones Room. Dr. George B. Forsythe will discuss “Living in the Shadow of The Wall: Reflections on Life in Cold War Berlin” from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on Nov. 5 in the Marsh Jones Room.
Films will be shown throughout the week on The Cold War and the Berlin Wall. Included in the group will be “Goodbye, Lenin” and a new documentary made for PBS on “Breakthrough” and the National Churchill Museum entitled “Writing on the Wall: Remembering the Berlin Wall.”
An exhibit on the history of the Berlin Wall and will be on display at the National Churchill Museum throughout the week as well as an exhibit on the sculpture “Breakthrough.”
Many of the activities for the week have been made possible by a grant from the German Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The National Churchill Museum is located within The Churchill Memorial, founded in 1969 to honor the life and legacy of one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. The Museum is housed in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, a 12th century church from the middle of London, redesigned by Sir Christopher Wren in 1677 and relocated to Fulton to be reconstructed stone by stone in 1969. The Church is the only Wren church found in North America.
Beneath the beautiful and historic Wren church is the Undercroft, a museum filled with artifacts and information relating to the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill. In 2006, the Museum was transformed with state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits into the Churchill Leadership Gallery.
The National Churchill Museum is open from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is Adults: $6.00; Senior Citizens, AAA and AARP members: $5.00; Youth (12-18): $4.00; College Students: $4.00; Children (6-11): $3.00: and Children (5 and under): free.
Founded in 1851, Westminster College is one of the Midwest’s best private liberal arts colleges, according to the rankings of U.S.News & World Report. Forbes magazine just selected Westminster as the Top Value College and University in Missouri. The Princeton Review recently named the College as one of the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the eighth straight year. Newsweek-Kaplan named it “One of the 372 Most Interesting Schools in America.” Westminster has also been recognized as one of 240 Colleges of Distinction and CosmoGirl magazine named the school one of the Top 100 American Colleges for women. This selective college for men and women is situated on an 86-acre residential campus with small class sizes taught by top-notch instructors.