When people took to the streets in the autumn of 1989, they risked their own freedom to achieve freedom for all. Their courage tore down walls, their unity inspired Europe and the world, and their peaceful revolution changed the course of history forever. People healed a European continent divided by war, and reconciled Europe's history with its geography.
Instead of suffering history, these people made history.
Thanks to them, an entire generation of young European men and women have experienced nothing but peace and freedom ever since – a Europe in which we can travel, live and find love across borders.
For me personally, 9 November is a date I will never forget. Following a serious car accident and a three-week coma, I awoke on 9 November 1989 to the powerful television images of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The feeling was indescribable: this was a milestone for world politics and the start of a new chapter, both for the continent of Europe and for me.
This date – 9 November 1989 – remains a decisive moment in European history. It is our mission today to defend a free and democratic society in Europe, as resolutely as the people did then.