Mike Creswell and Joanna Pinneo

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Fall of Berlin Wall: Historical reflection

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- When the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, a barrier 103 miles long and 13 feet high enclosed West Berlin. It cut off some people from jobs, churches, families and friends. Several Baptist churches in West Berlin lost hundreds of members, some half their membership. In East Germany the wall was considered a necessary way to staunch the loss of its people who went West and didn't return. At least 77 people died trying to cross the barrier. The middle of West Berlin became one big pedestrian mall in the days after the Berlin Wall opened last November. Hundreds of thousands of East Berliners visited former homes, friends and family, [and] looked and shopped in stores they had only heard about before. At least for a time, there were no barriers of age, background or ideology. Everyone, from old West Berliners to young East Berliners, celebrated just being together.