When I was nine years old we travelled to West Germany and I enjoyed the time. My grandmother was German and she and her mother had travelled to visit my aunt (whose husband was stationed in northern Italy) and I can remember Granny telling me that great-grandma was said that they couldn't see her family (who was all in East Germany).
Additionally my father was Czech and I never as a child thought I would be able to travel to the land of my ancestors. East Germany and Czechoslovakia were firmly rooted behind the iron curtain.
Today, on the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down my heart beats heavier. I can remember walking down the hallway my freshman year in high school and Lydia Radnik coming up to me telling me that the Berlin Wall had come down. I didn't even know what to say it was so unreal to me.
And now I am planning a trip to take my son to Berlin and Prague and the meaning is so much more than new places and new experiences. It is my homeland. The place where my ancestors decided that they wanted something else for their families. Something better than what they could see was happening to their countries over a 100 years ago. I wonder if I would have the strength and the conviction to make such life-altering decisions. I wonder what I will feel when I stand on the soil of my ancestors and thank them and their memory for all they gave up so that I may have more. More freedom. More wealth. More ideas. More happiness.
They did with less so that I would have more.