Not too long after the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, my wife and I visited Berlin. Crossing into what had been East Germany was like going through a time tunnel. It looked like it was still the 1940s. Through its physical environment, East Germany highlighted the difference between Western freedom and Communism. This difference was even more evident in Berlin. What struck me was the complete absence of color in what had been the Eastern Zone, which said quite a lot about the quality of life under communism.
West Berlin was full of bright colors, from shop windows and pennants flying on buildings, to the clothes worn by Berliners on the street. All of the buildings in East Berlin were gray and dirty. Some were still unoccupied and had bullet holes; they had never been repaired or renovated after the end of World War II. West Berlin was full of bright, sparkling vistas and shops filled with consumer goods of all kinds. East Berlin was dark and dingy. The few shops were empty of the everyday necessities and luxuries that give us the quality of life we enjoy. All of the differences between the liberty and prosperity of the free West and the prison conditions and poverty that characterized life behind the Iron Curtain were easy to see.
I also like what Bill Bennett said, "Today marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But even that phrase doesn’t do the story justice: The wall did not fall — it was pushed." (source)