Twenty years ago this week, the Berlin Wall fell. And back in the day (this would be way back in the day), I worked in V Corps Intelligence in Frankfurt, Germany. It was my first job in the Army and in addition to being the assistant officer in charge of my section (a weighty responsibility), I worked as an intelligence analyst.
I was the main analyst for the First Guards Tank Army (those pesky Soviets) and Soviet Command, Control, and Communication.
Now, C3 covers what you might think it covers. It was also the catchall for what can only be described as “miscellaneous stuff” – the sort of thing no one knew how to categorize.
And … you guessed it. This is where all the intelligence traffic about what was happening in East Germany ended up: in my inbox.
So, before the world knew, I knew. Well, me and many other intelligence organizations, including the three-letter ones.
November was always so dark in Germany. I went to work before the sun came up and I left work after it went down. I worked in a secured facility, no windows, so if I wanted to see the sun, I had to check out, go through a series of doors, and so on.
I grew so pale, my friends accused me of being a vampire (and, dude, this was way before Twilight).
But I remember that November. I remember how I couldn’t wait to get into work so I could see what had come in over the wire over night. I’d grab a German coffee from the snack bar, the stack from my inbox, and read. And I remember thinking:
Wow. Something is happening in East Germany.
A few months later, I had the opportunity to venture into East Germany. But that’s a post for another day.
For today, it’s good to be reminded that people can come together, and the seemingly impossible can happen. And I’m reminded that, in the long run, it’s more rewarding to be an idealist than a cynic.
Know hope. And listen: