Berlin Wall Now in Pieces Across USA

Today, he says, "terrorism is a different kind of threat" than nuclear annihilation. "But it's not the end of the world any more. I feel safer."

Mateja Pehar, a sophomore, was born in what was Yugoslavia less than six weeks before the wall came down.

Her reaction to the wall section here is "completely different" than most Americans, she says, because the end of the Iron Curtain paved the way for a civil war "that made life worse for my country."

She's from Mostar, a city in what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the war, her Christian Croatian family was driven from home in a predominantly Bosnian Muslim neighborhood; a grenade exploded on a balcony below her apartment.

She doesn't feel safer in the post-wall world.

"People can start a war just like that, and it could be 10 times worse than it was before. There's more competition in the world now. I don't think there'll ever be peace, not completely."

Baxter Watson was a sophomore at Westminster in 1946 when he was asked to escort Churchill and Truman from the college president's house, where they had lunch, to the gym where Churchill spoke.

He mostly recalls the spectacle — Churchill with his trademark cigar and "V" sign, the crowd of 25,000, the academic procession, the sight and sound of the great orator. When the speech was over, though, he didn't think Churchill had said anything new.

Today the wall reminds Watson of when, for the first time, destruction of the American heartland seemed possible.

When he saw Gorbachev step through one of the sculptural cutouts, Watson says, "I knew the Cold War was really over."

On balance, however, he's not sure the world is much better off.

"The enemy used to wear a uniform, and it was clear what the communists were doing. Now it's not so clear. I think we traded in one set of problems for another."

READERS: Where were you when the wall came down?

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