Saving the Bockau Arch Bridge Day 8: Update and Marketing Ideas

Sister column The Bridgehunter needs your help because a bridge preservation community wants to create a T-shirt; but to find out which bridges should go on there, a voting process is underway. Can you help? Details in the article. Thanks for your help. 🙂

The Bridgehunter's Chronicles

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It has been a few weeks since my last posting about the Bockau Arch Bridge and the fight against time and the elements to save the 150-year old structure. But as you can see here as well as on the Facebook page (click here), progress is being made in leaps and bounds to have the new structure, built on alignment, ready to go by next year. Already the piers and the concrete decking are in place, and a barrier is in place, permanently blocking access to the old bridge on the north end. Many have written off the old Bridge, however…..

….it’s not over yet. The decision regarding whether the state government will accept our petition and decision to allow for time to claim ownership of the structure before it is demolished in mid-2019 is still out. We’re looking at 4-6 weeks before Dresden decides.  Another petition going one level up…

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Genre of the Week: Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson

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Sometimes when we see something we don’t like we bash the person doing it. Sometimes we counter with our own actions that can be put down by external factors. Sometimes we look in the mirror and ask ourselves who we are, what we are capable of doing for the good of onesself and others as well. Each of us has a gift to make others happy, no matter what it is- hobbies, jobs and spending time with family and friends, maybe even meeting or reacquainting with people. Sometimes when the situation gets extremely difficult to handle, we need to look back and think carefully what has worked in the past, can we use our experiences in the past for our present situation to help others in the future or do we just simply blow it up and start with a clean slate.

Sometimes we just need to look at ourselves and the environment around us and find creative ways of bettering both.  Michael Jackson produced this song Man in the Mirror in 1988, looking at the situation we were facing and the changes we need to make to help others. The problems seen at that time are still the same and getting worst in the present. This is compounded by the fact that we have leaders who encourage the public to indulge in perverted acts of hatred, trolling and attacking others for even mentioning the problems facing our countries today. The act of dividing our countries, destroying families, friendships and relationships is also killing us on the inside, alienating ourselves from our own real identities. Almost all of us (even I myself) have been guilty of this, no matter how often and to what extent. Yet when we all take a look at ourselves and the situation affecting us all, each of us should see the inner potentials we have to turn the situation around, unite to put an end to the destruction we’re witnessing before our eyes, and reforge relationships with the people we hurt the most, relatives, friends, partners and even strangers. I learned this recently as I had to confront myself with an unwanted past but profited more than what I expected. Except the person affected gave me the gift of what I’m capable of doing for the good.

And I think when we listen and watch this video, it will give ourselves an incentive to stop what we are doing, ask ourselves who we are and what we can do better; even if it means looking into our inner-selves to see what gifts we have to help others. Sometimes it goes beyond looking into one’s mirror but talking to and forgiving someone from the past.

So as an incentive:

fast fact logo Although he was named singer of the decade in 1990 for his hits in the 70s and 80s, the King of Pop devoted most of his time in the last two decades of his life exposing the problems affecting our society, which included racism, war and poverty and environmental destruction, be it through his songs or his work in the Michael Jackson foundation. Unfortunately, his life was cut short tragically, as he died of a drug overdose on June 25, 2009 at the age of 51. A detailed biography of one of the members of the original Jackson Five can be found here. This song wins the title of Genre of the Week for it focuses on the issues we are facing today but on a larger scale. We need to know what gifts we have and what we can do to tackle the issues at hand, before they grow out of control.

 

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Communication is Key: Pay Attention to Your Customers

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Day one of the trip to the United States and we had one of the most bizarre episodes of “Die Bahn macht mich mobil” moments ever recorded in my time here in Germany. Actually we had two incidents but on the same train, an ICE-train to Frankfurt from Erfurt. And it involved a pair of seats and a retro-active reservation. A family boards the train in coach 21, expecting to have seats 81, 82, & 83 – with table and two of them next to the window. Another woman had the same seat reserved- seat 81. An elderly couple were sitting in two of the seats- 81 and 82- and refused to move. All three parties had their seats reserved. Which one of the parties lucked out and why?

Enter the conductor who speaks with a stuffy nose but has a Berlin accent but looks and behaves like Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the first of most likely two Supreme Court nominees of President Trump. The verdict: the family is out of luck and has to sit somewhere else.

 

Why?

 

We found out that “Mr. Gorsuch” claimed that the train ticket was valid on the 6th instead of the 16th. AND here’s the kicker:  That ticket was reserved on the 9th!  Since when do you book retroactively, three days AFTER the trip had “taken place?”

How does the ticket person get out of this fix: Simple- defer responsibility on the customer. Tell the customer that the Deutsche Bahn has a disclaimer that says customers should pay attention to their ticket when they purchase it because they are not responsible for any mishaps that happen- all written in tiny little letters which require the magnifying glass.

 

Nice going, Gorsuch!

 

Same day, different situation, different place- Frankfurt Airport.

Sitting at Gateway 46 for hours, passengers going to Pittsburgh are becoming anxious and annoyed because our scheduled flight was for 4:00pm and it was well after the hour. One passenger decides to investigate the matter and ask the ticket agent who is extremely busy but was professional about it- friendly and persistent. End result: Gate 48 and we don’t leave before six!

The kicker here: The airline (Condor) offers us free drinks-including alcohol plus free premium entertainment for the entire flight to compensate the customers for the delay.

 

Classy!  🙂

 

Now look at the difference between the two for a minute: one behaves like Gorsuch and chastises the customer and the other one apologizes and tries a “Wiedergutmachung” with the film and drinks. They are both German-run companies and they are both trying to win and keep their customers by providing the best service possible. Yet history shows if a provider makes a mistake and tries to defer responsibility onto the customers, chances are more likely that that provider will lose the customer more quickly than the one who makes the mistake, says sorry and makes up for it. It’s a principle I learned from working a hellish summer of 1997 for an eccentric restaurant owner in Iowa, which is always make the customer happy.

While some of things he did while working in a hot kitchen at 40° C left us scratching our heads, he realized that we were all human beings and sometimes mistakes can happen. Therefore if a customer was unhappy, he made sure that the food was done right. If not, he gave them a free dessert or cocktail of choice.

The Happy Customer model has worked for all businesses that provide services to their customers with a goal of winning and keeping them. If one defers responsibility, the customer leaves. If the provider begs and pleads for a positive feedback when addressing a problem by e-mail, the customer can also leave. The incident with the Bahn added to the pile of reasons for having bought a car for commuting purposes, which is a story saved for another time. Perhaps they should look to the likes of Condor to address their problems of service on the train.

And as for the second argument, that is in reference to the next entry on my trip through the States……

BTW: CHeck out this Genre of the Week about the Bahn. A song from the Wiseguys and more I will not say here. 😉

 

And to the person who taught everybody how to make the customers happy, enjoy your retirement. You taught us well. 🙂

 

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Historic Structures and Glasses: Restore vs. Replacement in Simpler Terms

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Co-written with sister column, bhc-logo-newest1

The discussion about the preservation and reuse of historic places has existed since the 1950s, thanks to the preservation laws that have been in place. The German Preservation Laws were passed in 1958, whereas the Historic Preservation Laws that established the National Park Service and National Register of Historic Places in the USA were enacted in 1966. Both serve the lone purpose of identifying and designating places unique to the cultural identity and history of their respective countries. Furthermore, these places are protected from any sort of modernization that would otherwise alter or destroy the structure in its original form. Protected places often receive tax credits, grants and other amenities that are normally and often not granted if it is not protected or even nominated for listing as a historic site.  This applies to not only buildings and bridges but also to roadways and highways, windmills, towers of any sorts, forts and castles, citadels and educational institutions and even memorials commemorating important events.

Dedicating and designating sites often receive mixed reactions, from overwhelming joy because they can better enjoy the sites and educate the younger generations, to disgruntlement because they want to relieve themselves of a potential liability.

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Since working with a preservation group in western Saxony on saving the Bockau Arch Bridge, a seven-span stone arch bridge that spans the Zwickau Mulde between Bockau and Zschorlau, six kilometers southwest of Aue, the theme involving this structure has been ownership. The bridge has been closed to all traffic since August 2017 while a replacement is being built on a new alignment. Once the new bridge opens, the 150-year old structure will come down unless someone is willing to step in and take over ownership and the responsibilities involved. . Taking the structure means paying for its maintenance and assuming all responsibility for anything that could potentially happen. And this is the key here: Ownership.

Who wants to own a piece of history? To examine this, let’s look at a basic example of a commodity where two thirds of the world’s population wear on a regular basis- the author included as well: glasses.

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The author’s sunglasses: the older model from 2005 on top; the newest pair from 2018 at the bottom.

Ever since Marco Polo’s invention, glasses have been improved, innovated and modernized to not only make the person look great in appearance. It also helps them to better see the environment surrounding them, regardless of whether they are near-sighted or far sighted, have astigmatism or require bi-focals to read, or if they want protect their eyes from the sun in the form of shades. Glasses can be plastic or metal (or even both). And like the historic structures, the materials can be recycled if no one wants them. Yet by the same token, many of us love to keep them for the purpose of memories or give them away to those who need them. For over 30 years, I have worn nine pairs of glasses and two pairs of sunglasses; this does not count the eight years that I primarily wore contact lenses, which was during my time in high school and college. Like our historic structures, glasses have a life span. They are worn until the frames develop rust and corrosion, the vision changes or they are broken.

In some cases, many look for a new frames because they want to “look cool” in front of their peers. The “look cool” mentality has overtaken society to a point where it can be applicable to about everything: cars, clothing, houses and especially historic places and structures of interest. Basically, people just ignore the significance of these structures and things that had been built in the past, which hold memories, contribute to the development of a country, region or even community, or are simply fashionable. Still in spite of all this, one has to do something about the glasses, just as much one has to do something about the historic building.

So let’s take these two pairs of sunglasses, for example. Like in the picture above, the top one I was prescribed by an optometrist in 2005; the bottom one most recently in June 2018. The top one is a combination of plastic and steel- the temples, ends and hinges are made of steel; the eye wires are plastic. The lenses are made with Carl Zeiss branded glass with a sealcoat covering to protect it from scratches.  The bottom ones are plastic- frames, temples and nosepiece; the lenses are plastic but with a sealcoat protectant and dimmers to protect the eyes from the sun. The brand name is generic- no name.  The difference is that the changes in the eyes required new sunglasses for the purpose of driving or doing work outside.  As I wear the new sunglasses, which are not as high quality but is “cool,” according to standards, the question is what to do with the old sunglasses?

There are enough options to go around, even if the sunglasses are not considered significant. One can keep the old pair for memory purposes. Good if you have enough space for them. One can give them away to someone who needs them. If they are non-prescription lenses, that is much easier than those with a prescription. With the prescription lenses, one will need to remove them from the frame before giving them away. Then there is the option of handing them into the glasses provider, who takes the pair apart and allows for the materials to be recycled.  More likely one will return the old pair to the provider to be recycled and reused than it would be to give them away because of the factors of age, quality of the materials and glass parts and especially the questions with the lenses themselves. One can keep the pair, but it would be the same as leaving them out of sight and out of mind.

And this mentality can be implemented to any historic structure. People strive for cooler, more modern buildings, infrastructure or the like, but do not pay attention to the significance of the structure they are replacing in terms of learning about the past and figuring its reuse in the future. While some of  these “oldtimers “ are eventually vacated and abandoned, most of them are eventually torn down with the materials being reused for other purposes; parts of sentimental values, such as finials, statues and plaques, are donated to museums and other associations to be put on display.

The Bridge at Pointer’s Ridge. Built in 1910 by the Western Bridge Company of Omaha, NE. The Big Sioux River crossing was one of five bridges removed after years of abandonment in 2012. Photo taken in 1999 when it was still open.

One of examples that comes to mind when looking at this mentality are the bridges of Minnehaha County in South Dakota. The most populous county in the state whose county seat is Sioux Falls (also the largest city in the state), the county used to have dozens of historic truss bridges that served rail and automobile traffic. As of present, 30 known truss bridges exists in the county, down from 43 in 1990, and half as many as in 1980.  At least six of them are abandoned awaiting reuse. This includes a rails-to-road bridge that was replaced in 1997 but has been sitting alongside a gravel road just outside Dell Rapids ever since.  A big highlight came with the fall of five truss bridges between Dell Rapids and Crooks in 2012, which included three through truss spans- two of which had crossed the Big Sioux. All three were eligible for the National Register. The reasons behind the removal were simple: Abandoned for too long and liability was too much to handle

This leads me to my last point on the glasses principle: what if the structures are protected by law, listed as a historic monument?  Let’s look at the glasses principle again to answer that question. Imagine you have a couple sets of glasses you don’t want to part ways with, even as you clean your room or  flat. What do you do with them? In the case of my old sunglasses, the answer is simple- I keep them for one can reuse them for other purposes. Even if I allow my own daughter to use them for decorating dolls or giant teddy bears, or even for artwork, the old pair is mine, if and only if I want to keep them and allow for use by someone else under my care.  The only way I would not keep the old sunglasses is if I really want to get rid of them and no one wants them.

Big Sioux River Crossing at 255th Street: One of five bridges removed in 2012 after decades of abandonment. Photo taken in 1999.

For historic places, this is where we have somewhat of a grey area. If you treat the historic place as if it is protected and provide great care for it, then there is a guarantee that it will remain in its original, pristine condition. The problem is if you want to get rid of it and your place is protected by law. Here you must find the right person who will take as good care of it as you do with your glasses. And that is not easy because the owner must have the financial security and the willpower just to do that. Then the person taking it over does not automatically do what he/she pleases. If protected under preservation laws you must treat it as if it is yours but it is actually not, just like renting a house.  Half the places that have been torn down despite its designation as a historical site was because of the lack of ownership and their willingness to do something to their liking. Even if there are options for restoration available, if no one wants it, it has to go, even if it means taking it off the historic registry list to do that.  Sometimes properties are reclaimed at the very last second, just like the old glasses, because of the need to save it. While one can easily do that with glasses, it is difficult to do that with historic places, for replacement contracts often include removal clauses for the old structure, something that is very difficult to rescind without taking the matter to court.

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In reference to the project on the Bockau Arch Bridge in Germany, we are actually at that point. Despite its protection as a historic structure, its designation was taken off recently, thus allowing for the contract for the new bridge at the expense of the old structure to proceed. Yet, like with the pair of old glasses, last ditch attempts are being made to stop the process for there are possible suitors willing to take over the old structure and repurpose it for bike and pedestrian use. While neither of the communities have expressed interest, despite convincing arguments that the bridge can be maintained at a price that is 100 times less than the calculated amount, the group working to save the bridge is forming an association which will feature a network of patrons in the region, willing to chip in to own the bridge privately. Despite this, the debate on ownership and the bridge’s future lies in the hands of the state parliament because the bridge carries a federal highway, which is maintained on the state and national levels. Will it become like the old pair of glasses that is saved the last second will be decided upon later this fall.

To summarize briefly on the glasses principle, glasses and buildings each have a short lifespan because of their functionality and appearance. We tend to favor the latter more than the former and therefore, replace them with newer, more modern and stylish things to keep up with the pace. However, the older structures, just like the discarded pair of glasses, are downgraded on the scale, despite its protection under laws and ownership. When listed as a historical site, the proprietor works for and together with the government to ensure its upkeep, just like lending old glasses to someone for use, as long as the person knows he/she is “borrowing” it. When it is not listed , they are either abandoned or torn down, just like storing the glasses in the drawers or even having them recycled. However the decision is final if and only if no one wants it, and this could be a last-second thing.

The Bridge at Iverson Crossing south of Sioux Falls. Built in 1897, added to the National Register in 1996. Now privately owned. Photo taken in 1998.

We cannot plan ahead for things that need to be built, expanded or even replaced, for there may be someone with a strong backbone and staunch support who will step in the last minute to stake their claim. This applies to replacing older, historic structures with modern ones that have less taste and value. In the face of environmental issues we’re seeing globally on a daily basis, we have to use and reuse buildings and other structures to prevent the waste of materials that are becoming rarer to use, the destruction of natural habitats that may never recover but most importantly, remind the younger generations of our history and how we got this far. While some of us have little memories of our old glasses in schools with the exception of school class and party photos, almost all of us have memories of our experiences at, in, or on a historic structure that deserves to be recognized and kept for others to see. It’s just a matter of handling them, like the glasses we are wearing.

 

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The Last Get-Together at the Cottage on the Beach

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While I’m still in the process of consolidating the Files and giving it a make-over, I decided to share this poem I put together. It was based on childhood memories I had spending it at a cottage on the north shore of a major lake in Iowa. It was owned by my great-aunt and featured a beach and a sun-room overlooking the water, where we spent half our time; the other half was in the water. And having a couple cousins, we entertained her and her guests as we grew up. This poem is dedicated in her memory for after 94 years, she decided it was time to sail off into the sunset to meet the rest of her family who had preceeded her- namely her parents, her five siblings (including my grandmother), and many close friends she knew in school, church and in other social gatherings.  It was my pleasure having spent my summers with her and my trips to the Seas in the north of Germany will be a reminder of the times I enjoyed growing up. So this poem is for her with a heart-felt thanks. ❤

 

Today is the day we say good-bye to a dear friend,

Who welcomed us with open arms,

Who met and knew many people, from places near and far,

Who led us through the cottage, a small place but with big rooms, like a kitchen, dining area and sun room,

Who offered us coffee, banana bread and kolaches, all homemade with a personal touch,

Who entertained us in the sun room, overlooking the rolling sea, filled with sailors, fishermen and swimmers,

Who had a large beach where we could tan and swim, the first two things we did when we came to visit,

Who would have thought that the cottage would be the care of someone else, after many decades and hundreds of guests and relatives?

 

Today we make our final swim at the cottage of our dear friend,

Who taught us how to swim,

Who showed us the right way to snorkel,

Who had a half dozen inner-tubes and showed us how to balance them,

Who kept our large collection of shiny rocks we found, while underwater for many hours,

Who was very creative in offering us things we need to build a sand castle, like buckets, shovels, glasses and pans,

Who owned the oldest footbath in the region for us to clean our feet,

Who offered chairs and shade for us to sit and relax.

Who would have thought that today, our place to swim is at a waterpark, with plastic slides, ceramic swimming pools and red-suited life guards, watching like a hawk to ensure that the many visitors behave themselves?

 

Today we have our final potluck brunch at the cottage of our dear friend

Who always had it in the sun room overlooking the sea,

Who always made home-cooked meals from generations of family recipes

Who always encouraged us to bring our homemade food to share with others

Who was laden with five-course meal for an average of 20 people, like deviled eggs, homemade hamburgers, potato salad- or any salad, every platter possible, including the pastries; with punch, coffee and ginger ale, our favorites to drink,

Who started off with the Lord’s Prayer, thanking Jesus before we feasted: Bless us oh Lord in the gifts you gave us and help us help those in need, those we love the most,

Who allowed us to eat and entertain ourselves, sharing stories, jokes and testimonials- no politics or debates, no facebook to distract us, no insults and verbal spats,

Who enjoyed every story in the lives of the people she loved dearly- siblings, children and grand-children alike.

Who would have thought today that our family is stretched out too thin- living in faraway places, having little contact except on the internet, and not having time to even say hi to our loved ones?

 

Today we play our final card game at the cottage of our dear friend

Who taught us how to play farkle,

Who showed us how to poker-face in poker,

Who taught us when to show the cards in Rummy,

Who encouraged us to win the race in cribbage,

Who showed us how to go-fish.

Who would have thought today that all our games could be played online, while missing out on personal reactions that are funny and priceless?

 

Today is our final bonfire at the beach of the cottage of our dear friend

Who showed us how to roast sausages without burning them,

Who showed us how to make smores with marshmallows and Hershey’s,

Who showed us how to pop every corn made by Orville Redenbacher,

Who showed us how to cover fruit in a chocolate fountain,

Who showed us how to have the greatest time at her cottage.

Who would have thought today that we would never experience them with our children as our dear friend had to move on, growing older by the year and knowing that the time has come to say her good-byes to the hundreds she met along the way-

Hundreds including us and personally, me.

 

Tonight will be our final night to camp at the beach of the cottage of our dear friend

Who allowed us to sleep on the sands of the beach

Who allowed us to watch the fireworks go off on an important holiday

Who allowed us to look into the stars at night and dream

Who allowed us to become who we are because

We spent all our summers at the cottage.

Who would have thought that after all these years we still remember our dear friend, her cottage and all the great times we had there?

 

We still do.  And we still will remember these times as the best.

 

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Ampelmänner: The Traffic Lights from East Germany

From 2011: 

This year has been the year of the roaring zeros in the eastern part of Germany, as many universities, private firms and organizations in the former East German states of Mecklenburg-Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia are celebrating 20 years of existence and the nostalgia that had existed prior to the Revolution of 1989 managed to make its way to the main stream of German culture and international prominence; especially after 50 years.
Strangely enough, the pedestrian traffic lights in the eastern part of Germany happen to fall into the category of international prominence. 50 years ago this year, Karl Peglau of the Ministry of Transportation got a bit creative and tried to present the then German Democratic Republic with a mannequin figure, who stretched its arms out in red to alert the pedestrians to stop and waltzed across the street whistling his favorite tune in green, as seen in the photos taken below:

The Socialist Party eventually approved the introduction of the mannequin figure traffic light for the pedestrian crossings, and the first one was installed in Berlin in 1969 in the suburb of Mitte.  It became a ‘household product’ typical of East Germany afterwards as the drivers of the Trabant automobile (another East German product one can still see on the streets today but in fewer numbers) and pedestrians alike were awed by its appearance in the streets of Weimar, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Erfurt, Rostock, Potsdam, just to name a few.  Even more so is the fact that Peglau and later others did not stop there with their creative mannequin figure as it presented itself in many different forms; especially in green, which made it even more popular among the residents and visitors passing through the country- from the east, that is (the borders to the west were closed the same year Peglau invented the beloved mannequin figure).    Over the years, more than 30 different green mannequins appeared on the traffic lights ranging from a small girl carrying a Valentine’s heart to her sweetheart to a small child carrying a lantern at night to celebrate St. Martin’s Day (which is celebrated in November) or St. Nicholas carrying his bag full of toys to fill in the shoes of small children on St. Nicholas’ Day (which is celebrated on 6 December).  A gallery of examples the author photographed while in Erfurt in October of this year is provided below for the reader’s enjoyment:

 

The lady and the purse
St. Nicholas with his bag of toys for the children

 

Don’t bike or walk unless signaled to do so!

While the mannequin was not popular in the western part of Germany and therefore not adopted after 1989, a person from Baden-Wurttemberg decided to market the beloved mannequin and today, one can buy a T-shirt with the  walking green mannequin figure on it, drink coffee in a cup with the red mannequin figure on it, or buy a poster with a drunken green mannequin on it as it tries for another bottle of beer (believe it or not, it exists.) But those are just to name a few.  It is highly doubtful the pedestrian traffic lights in western Germany or even the ones in the US would stand a match against the ones in eastern Germany and therefore be marketed in a way that people will buy them.

Typical western German traffic light with a bike signal. This is go….
….and this is the signal to stop!

But despite its popularity that exists in the eastern part of Germany and the fact that people elsewhere are embracing it through merchandise and photos, in the eyes of many people still (after 21 years), it is considered an “Ossie” product from the former Socialist regime, which stressed the importance of Marxism and Leninism and is therefore considered “evil.” More alarming is the fact that many people (even in the USA) believe that there are two Germanys still, even though they have been reunified for 21 years (3 October is the anniversary of the reunification of Germany and is declared a national holiday).  On the contrary though, despite our thinking of a “Wessie” (as the eastern Germans considered the westerners before and after 1989), many countries have embraced some of the products and structures that had existed before 1989. In particular, the Scandanavian countries  (Finland and Sweden) adopted the education system of the former East Germany because of its clear structure and learning levels that students can achieve in 13 years. Many countries still have government-owned health insurance and/or obliges the residents to have health insurance so that they do not have to worry about paying out of their pockets for the most important operations that can save their lives. And even in the western half of Germany, the people are embracing some of the TV programs that originate from the eastern part, like Sandman, the Fox and the Elster (a black and white bird found mostly in the eastern part), and other cartoon shows. During my trek to the Christmas markets last year in Nuremberg and Frankfurt (Main), one can see eastern German specialties there that are worth tasting, like the famous Thuringian bratwurst.


It is time that we crack open the books, travel to these regions, and put aside the differences that apparently still divides East and West and embrace the cultures of one another, perhaps even adopting them for the good of oneself and the rest of society.  Learning something new once a day will not harm the person but will make him/her more informative than before. This was the mentality that the late news anchor Peter Jennings took when he learned something new everyday and found ways of informing the public about it in his newscast World News Tonight, which he hosted for 23 years until he succumbed to cancer in 2006.  While the mannequin traffic light is the tiniest aspect that one would even dream of writing, it represents a fraction of the culture and history that is worth reading about, even if it came from the former East Germany. And with globalization dominating every aspect of life, one should embrace rather be inclusive, for learning about something every day will make a person more open to the world and wiser than the one who is ignorant.

OK, you can cross now- even by bike.

 

Link to the story (German): http://www.mdr.de/nachrichten/Ampelmann100.html