On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell in Germany uniting East and West Berlin, and three years later on November 9, 1992, the Berlin Wall Freedom Monument was dedicated on the Honolulu Community College campus featuring one of only three pieces of the wall that were given by the Berlin Senate.
The college held a 20th anniversary celebration in 2009 that Tina Mehnert, a designer and architect with Architects Hawai‘i, who had a hand in designing the monument that now stands at Honolulu CC, spoke at.
Mehnert fled from East Germany along with her family and had a personal interest in designing the monument, which serves as a symbol of democracy and freedom and the downfall of communism. It includes a three-ton piece of the wall that made the 12,000 mile journey from Berlin by barge down the Rhine River, and by ship across the Atlantic and Pacific in a container by Sealand Corp. Honolulu CC History Professor Rick Ziegler worked with a group of students to bring the piece of the wall to Hawai‘i.
The wall sits in the same direction as it did for three decades in Berlin. The “free” Western side is a rainbow of colors and is in stark contrast to the dull gray side of communist East Berlin. The round base symbolizes the reunification of Germany in 1990. The flagstones represent the “fallen wall” and the cobblestones on the eastern side represent the difficulty approaching the wall on that side. The campus recently added a lovely fence to the monument to protect the sacredness of the area.
The Berlin Wall Freedom Monument has been joined on the campus by the World Trade Center Memorial, which was unveiled in 2005. As part of the memorial, an American flag is supported by the Twin Towers in stainless steel, reflecting back on the viewer. The memorial contains a piece of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and soil from Shanksville, Pennsylvania (the crash site of Flight 93), joining these areas with Hawai‘i in a sacred site.
Watch a video that was done a few years ago about the Berlin Wall on the Honolulu CC campus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLG4zRtc7h8
(Excerpts from a November 9, 2009 Honolulu CC press release)