The Munster Express, back in the early Sixties, ran a supplement on the Berlin Wall and its affect on Eastern Europe and humanity in general. This was around the time of the President Kennedy visit. Later, we had reports from readers from Carrick on Suir who were in Berlin when the wall came down 20 years ago. Yours truly visited Germany and the old East when they brought in the new currency the following summer in 1990 and western goods like detergent and toothpaste hit the shops.
Today, the East of Europe is different, happy and prosperous mainly. No longer is Europe fully divided, free travel and movement is possible, human rights are protected and the European Union has expanded. Voting yes to Lisbon will allow more countries enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy.
We may complain about the economy but the troubles of Eastern Europe kept the human spirit down with many wanting to leave. Here we have Polish and Eastern Europeans adding to diversity in Waterford and Irish society. None of this was possible without Polish union leader, Lech Walesa, President Gorbachev, President Reagan of American and Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl. We have much to be thankful to them and they were suitably honoured in Germany this week.