Tom Brokaw Remembers the Fall of the Berlin Wall on Its 25th Anniversary

Pam WrightLife

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Tom Brokaw was on hand the day the Berlin Wall came down 25 years ago today — the only network news anchor to report live from the scene.

Brokaw, best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, says it was a day when all of the stars aligned.

"When we went, we had no idea the wall would fall on our watch," Brokaw told Today's Erica Hill, in a report commemorating the anniversary. "It was one of those times in a journalists' life when everything breaks in the right way."

Brokow, who announced in February that he has bone cancer, recounted that no one knew when the wall would come down, but he and his team were prepared just in case.

“We had no idea the wall would fall on our watch,” Browkaw said.

Few can forget the meaning of the day that symbolically ended the Cold War, but for younger audiences, Brokow offered an analogy.

"Think about dividing California in half, and for 45 years the northern half has to live behind a wall like San Quentin, and the southern half can go about being Southern California," he said. "That's what they were."

Brokow said the feeling of seeing the wall coming down was "absolutely palpable."

In Today's report, a flashback clip is shown, with a voiceover of Brokow expressing the importance of the year 1989, when America's fight against Communism was effectively over.

"I guess I always thought that 1968 would be the most memorable year of my journalistic career. The deaths of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, of course. But 1989, think about what we have witnessed this year, the wall has effectively come down."

Pam Wright