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20 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Summary: George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl attend an emotional ceremony to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl paid their respects to the ordinary people who were behind the peaceful revolution of 1989 that brought down the Berlin Wall at an emotional ceremony in Berlin.

The three statesmen from the United States, Soviet Union and West Germany - whose steady-handed leadership paved the way for the Wall's opening on November 9, 1989 -- recalled the events that led to the end of the Cold War at a ceremony attended by 1,800 people.

It recalled how the three leaders carried the hope that had built on East Germany's streets and turned it into a political reality - the end to more than 40 years of animosity and division reflected in the concrete barrier that snaked across Berlin.

German president Horst Koehler said Mr Kohl, Mr Bush and Mr Gorbachev were "exemplary for the learning route of their peoples".

"They all experienced the second world war and its disastrous consequences, but the war did not indurate or paralyse them, instead he sharpened their senses for the challenge to protect peace and to strive for freedom and justice," he said.

The event was hosted by Konrad Adenauer Foundation, associated with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's and Kohl's party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Mrs Merkel attended the event, but was not scheduled to speak.

Mr Kohl, 79, who went on to become the first chancellor of a reunited Germany, appeared the most visibly moved by the moment, when recalling the heady days that led up to the November 9, 1989, collapse of the wall and Washington's and Moscow's willingness to let it fall.

He said he had nothing to be more proud of than German reunification.

Mr Bush, 85, praised his fellow statesmen for their cooperation and for seizing the moment, but noted that the historic events that paved the way for the wall's collapse took place not in capital cities but in the hearts and minds of the people.

Mr Gorbachev recalled the efforts of the many statesmen who fought throughout the decades of the Cold War for reconciliation between Russia, Germany and the West in small steps and tiny concessions.

The ceremony ended with the playing of Germany's national anthem - a rarity at public events in the nation, which for decades after the end of Nazism shunned overt displays of nationalism.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Nov 4, 2009
Words:433
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