25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall

  • Cheering people stand on the Berlin Wall at Brandenburg Gate on Nov. 9, 1989.
  • East German guards struggle to restrain a crowd of East Berliners at the reopening of the Berlin Wall, Nov. 9, 1989.
  • The east side of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate on Nov. 9, 1989.
  • East German citizens climb the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate after the opening of the East German border was announced in this Nov. 10, 1989 file photo.
  • A punk from West Berlin helps to tear down the Berlin Wall, Nov. 9, 1989.
  • The press gather to watch East Germans cross the border into the West. Nov. 10, 1989.
  • West Germans waiting for their families as East Germans cross the border into the West. Nov. 10, 1989.
  • Emotional East Germans cross the border into the West. Nov. 10, 1989.
  • East German border policemen, right, refuse to shake hands with a Berliner who stretches out his hand over the border fence at the eastern site nearby Checkpoint Charlie border crossing point, in this Nov. 10, 1989 photo, after the borders were opened according to the announcement by the East German government.
  • East and West Berliners mingle as they celebrate in front of a control station on East Berlin territory, Nov. 10, 1989, during the opening of the borders to the West following the announcement by the East German government that the border to the West would be open.
  • The Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, Germany, on the morning of Nov. 11, 1989.
  • West Berliners crowd in front of the Berlin Wall early on Nov. 11, 1989 as they watch East German border guards demolishing a section of the wall in order to open a new crossing point between East and West Berlin, near the Potsdamer Square. 
  • A crack in the Berlin Wall becomes a symbol of new freedom between East and West, Nov. 11, 1989.
  • People climb on and over the wall between East and West Berlin, Nov. 11, 1989.
  • East and West German Police contain the crowd of East Berliners flowing through the recent opening made in the Berlin wall at Potsdamer Square, on Nov. 12, 1989. 
  • A jublilant man waves the German national flag under the gaze of suspicious East Germany border guards on top of the Berlin Wall on the morning of Nov. 10, 1989, the day the wall finally came down.
  • East German soldiers and West German soldiers remove some of the first sections of the Berlin Wall at Potsdammer Platz, Nov. 11, 2014.
  • Berlin, November 1989.
  • Stasi members check passports at a checkpoint in East Berlin, November 1989.
  • A man hammers away at the Berlin Wall on Nov. 12, 1989 as the border barrier between East and West Germany was torn down after 28 years.
  • A woman chisels away at the wall in November 1989, in West Berlin.
  • Two men, one from West Germany (on the left), and the other from East Germany embrace after being reunited on special train from Magdeburg at Helmstedt railway station, Nov. 10, 1989.
  • Berlin, Germany, November 1989.

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For more than 28 years, the 96-mile stretch of solid concrete around West Berlin that cut off the East was just as much of a physical boundary as it was a symbolic division lining the Iron Curtain.

The Berlin Wall – first erected Aug. 13, 1961 – represented the political oppression of the Cold War that splintered a city in half, separated friends and families, and marked where more than 100 people died trying to cross.

Iconic photos at the scene from when citizens first learned the wall would fall capture their pent-up emotions following weeks of unrest that culminated in celebrations out of a peaceful revolution.

Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, when Germans from East and West Berlin rushed to the climb over the barriers and become united once again. To honor the historic day, the border that cut through the heart of the city is back. But exchanging columns of concrete divides with 8,000 illuminated balloons, brother duo Marc and Christopher Bauder set up an art installation through Berlin as a beacon of light to pay tribute to the city’s dark past.

“We wanted to counter this ominous, heavy structure with something light,” said Marc Bauder, according to NBC News.

More balloons are scheduled through the anniversary weekend, when on Sunday, crowds at the Brandenburg Gate and six other locations will see white balloons released into the sky, commemorating exactly 25 years after the Berlin was was toppled.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography 

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