By Ben Mauk for The New Yorker
The following article by Ben Mauk was originally published on November 6, 2014, in The New Yorker business section. Mauk is a 2012 graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop who is currently in Germany on a Fulbright Study/Research grant.
This Sunday, Germany celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The festivities will be rather spectacular for a nation that remains understandably skeptical of nationalistic displays. In Berlin, starting this Friday, three days’ worth of tours, readings, and concerts are planned, all of them centered around an elaborate display of eight thousand lighted balloons that will stand along a nine-mile stretch of the city, tracing the path where the Wall once stood. On the afternoon of November 9th, Berliners will fasten written notes to the balloons and release them into the air, transforming the former border into a floating ribbon of light. A characteristic message from a “virtual balloon patron,” posted on the event’s Web site, reads, “I hope that my children understand what it is to live in a city that is no longer surrounded by a wall.” Many of the notes stress the importance of remembrance in an era when there are few visible remnants of the city’s division.]
Read the full article on The New Yorker website