World Freedom Day is a federal holiday observed on November 9. On this day 22 years ago, the momentous event in history when the Berlin Wall was abolished took place. The wall separated families and communities for almost three decades. Today, it marks the rise of democracy and freedom, and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
History of World Freedom Day
World Freedom Day was created to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall post-World War II. But today it is not so much about the Wall but more about what its falling represented. It marked the end of communism throughout Eastern and Central Europe, ensuring liberty to all. The holiday was established as a federal observance in 2001 by President George W. Bush.
After World War II ended, Germany was divided into East and West Germany. West Germany was occupied by the Americans, French, and the British and East Germany became the Soviet-occupied German Democratic Republic. East Germany gained status as an independent country in 1949 and the city of Berlin became a part of Soviet-controlled Germany.
A wall was created to prevent the immigration of people from East Berlin to West Berlin and the rest of Western Europe. From 1961 to 1989, an estimated 5,000 people escaped over the Berlin Wall. More than 100 people were killed in the process. In 1989, travel restrictions became lenient in East Germany, leading to thousands of people impatiently climbing the wall and hitting the wall with chisels and hammers. The Berlin Wall was chipped away bit by bit and eventually came down on 9 November 1989. One year later, Germany became a single territory again.
World Freedom Day timeline
Concrete posts and barbed wire are used by soldiers to maintain a barrier between East and West Berlin.
President Ronald Reagan visits the Berlin Wall and makes his famous “Tear down this wall!” speech.
Thousands of people use tools to bring the Berlin Wall down.
President George W. Bush declares November 9 as World Freedom Day.
World Freedom Day FAQs
When is World Freedom Day?
World Freedom Day is celebrated on November 9 every year.
Why is World Freedom Day celebrated?
World Freedom Day commemorates the historical falling of the Berlin Wall after World War II. The event became a symbol of freedom in history, and World Freedom Day is dedicated to it.
What is the World Press Freedom Day theme in 2021?
The theme for World Press Freedom Day 2021 is “Information as a Public Good.”
How to Observe World Freedom Day
Participate in a rally
Many student groups and organizations such as Young America's Foundation campaign and rally to celebrate freedom and victory over communism. Check your local events and participate.
Read up on historical figures and events
Ronald Reagan played an important role in the fall of communism. There are other figures, too, who contributed to the cause. Read more about them and the events that took place.
Know your rights
Even though World Freedom Day specifically represents one event in history, it is important to know the true meaning of freedom and your rights. Many people are unaware of their freedom and rights within the legal system, so it is important to be informed about it.
5 Facts About The Berlin Wall That Are Worth Knowing
The Berlin Wall didn’t happen overnight
The Berlin Wall was erected after 15 years of the Cold War had elapsed.
The Berlin Wall was actually two walls
Initially, there were two concrete walls with a ‘death strip’ in-between with hundreds of watchtowers, trenches, watchdogs, and floodlights.
More than 100 people died
At least 138 people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall.
5,000 people escaped
More than 5,000 people successfully escaped from over and under the Wall.
A remnant of the Wall is in Las Vegas
Several hundred remnants of the Berlin Wall were auctioned off around the world — one of them is in the men’s room of the Main Street Station Casino in Las Vegas.
Why World Freedom Day is Important
Freedom is still threatened
Unfortunately, freedom is still under threat today. Many seek power and control over entire nations, inciting violence and manipulating economic sectors. Motive-driven tyrants exist and World Freedom Day recognizes the need to ensure freedom for everyone.
Learning from history
History serves as a lesson and reminder for us all. By learning about the Cold War and the formation of the Berlin Wall, we can create the policies and reforms necessary to prevent such barriers to freedom from ever happening again.
Freedom is fundamental
It goes without saying, but reminders are needed sometimes to reiterate the obvious. Freedom is a fundamental right, and everyone is deserving of it.
World Freedom Day dates