I grew up dreaming of nuclear winters. Books like Children of the Dust and Airship 9, movies like Red Dawn gave these dreams their images. The nighly news gave those dreams their framework.
Then, 20 years ago tonight, everything changed. It was the end of so much more than the Cold War, but the end of hostilities that first began in 1914. Events that night seemed to wash away the past and sweep me up into the dreams of a promising future. This news seemed so unreal, few people looked too hard for the "why," lest we ask questions too loudly and wreck that which had taken a life of its own.
Tonight, as old rivals and new leaders gather in Berlin to knock down symbolic dominos painted by schoolchildren, I think about the generation that has come since that night, and why it would be difficult to explain these things to them.
The lamps went out all over Eurpoe in 1914, and Edward Grey never saw them again during his lifetime. It is humbling to be a part of the generation that saw those lamps lit again.