The Berlin Wall opened up in November 1989 and demolition occurred the following year. East Berlin at one time was the “showcase city” of socialism because of its proximity and optics to the western world. Aside from the wall, barbed wire and armed guards, the communists did all they could to show the world the prosperity and other benefits of their political system.

As a military officer, I was fortunate to visit East Berlin on several occasions. 

What I saw were drab buildings, shops with full window displays but empty shelves, and policemen everywhere. Most memorable was the seeming lack of joy or “life” in the eyes of most residents. All this reversed when the wall came down and the two Germanys were re-unified. The former East Berliners now had freedom and hope of a better future. The celebration was amazing to witness.

I realize Americans 30 and younger have no first-hand knowledge of the above events or the realities of socialism and its effect on people. 

They don’t understand that this political system failed under the most closely controlled conditions in a modern city. I am baffled by the wave of people in this country wanting the U.S. to swing more and more to the left. 

Please inform me of a socialist country, past or present, that enjoys more prosperity, freedom and constitutionally guaranteed liberty than the U.S. Let’s take time to think about our freedom, how we are going to maintain it and how people in other parts of the world envy what we have.

Donald J. Hanak

Stonycreek Township