On Monday, November 10, the Young Americans for Freedom Chapter at the University of Michigan celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by erecting their own Berlin Wall in the university’s Diag. The wall served as a commemoration of the wrongs performed by communism, and America’s victory over that evil.
Although this victory serves as a world historical milestone for people of all ideologies, the administrations and faculty of universities often fail to provide adequate memorials for the event, leaving students to take their own initiative to do so. At the University of Michigan, students could have attended lectures commemorating the anniversary, but the university YAF chapter hesitated to leave this responsibility solely to the faculty, since the many self-proclaimed communist, Marxist, and socialist professors who teach at the university tend to interpret the fall of the Berlin Wall in a somewhat skewed manner. Therefore, the YAF chapter decided that the campus needed a visible, tangible, and interactive symbol of the horrific oppression that East Berliners endured for years in the German Democratic Republic.
The presence of the mock-Berlin Wall on the Diag was undoubtedly a conversation-starter among students, prompting discussions about freedom and liberty between YAF representatives and numerous members of the student body – discussions that students may not have had the opportunity to have in classrooms. It allowed the student body to reflect upon the many rights and privileges that Americans enjoy, that were so callously revoked from East Berliners under the guise of ‘equality’. Many students were unaware that although the Berlin Wall officially existed to shelter East Berlin from the influence of Western culture, it practically served to ensure that desperate East Berlin refugees were unable to escape to freedom in West Berlin.
Although members of a communist group on campus made a brief appearance, YAF representatives were thrilled that as a new student organization on campus, their ideas and message are already having a huge impact on the university environment. The University of Michigan Young Americans for Freedom Chairman Grant Strobl remarked, “I’m happy that our mission of perpetuating the blessings of freedom and prosperity in America are making a difference and creating dialogue on campus so early on in the game.”
In the latter part of the day, before representatives removed their display, members of YAF symbolically destroyed the mock-Berlin wall by kicking and hammering holes into the structure. Several students walking through the Diag saw the display and asked to take part in the finale, a moment that YAF representatives describe as the most meaningful part of the day. University of Michigan YAF is humbled to have engaged numerous students, across a diverse ethnic, academic, and political spectrum, in decrying the inhumanity suffered by many in East Berlin, and celebrating the 25th anniversary of triumph over oppression.
Current members of the group hope that they have begun a tradition that will remind future students of the freedoms and liberties that they are blessed to possess in America. As Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” In an era when universities tend to indoctrinate rather than teach, the Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Michigan will continue to stand for liberty in truth, and work to establish a foundation among Michigan college students that will secure freedom for generations to come.
This article was originally published on The New Guard.