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Academy unveils artwork commemorating fall of Berlin Wall

Story by Janine Dreger, all photos by Trevor Cokley, Nov. 14, 2019

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Thirty years ago, on Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall – the ultimate sign of the Cold War and its Iron Curtain – fell.

One day before this 30-year anniversary, a sculpture memorializing the historic event was unveiled at the Air Force Academy’s McDermott Library.

Created by Colorado artist Veryl Goodnight, the sculpture features wild horses breaking west through the ruins of the Berlin Wall.

“The sculpture is not about horses – it’s about the freedom of the human spirit and overcoming oppression,” Goodnight said at the unveiling.

Similar artwork created by Goodnight can be seen at the George H. W. Presidential library in Texas, the former American Sector in Berlin, and the CIA’s headquarters building in Virginia.

Brig. Gen. Linell Letendre, the Academy’s dean, also spoke at the event.

“The Air Force’s place in ending the cold war, alongside political pressure, underpinned by a dogged intelligence service, is honored as it joins this existing trifecta of locations where this art is housed,” she said. “I hope that as our cadets pass by this statue, they think of this place as part of that struggle, and are inspired by the power of people against oppression, charging straight towards freedom and democracy.”

Art Up Close

The artist: Veryl Goodnight

Veryl Goodnight and Brig. Gen. Linell Letendre

[Editor’s note: Janine Dreger is at the Academy as part of NATO’s Administrative Exchange Program. She’s a career public affairs professional and has previously worked for NATO and the German military.  She’s a German citizen currently assigned to the Headquarters, U.S. Air Force Academy’s Public Affairs Office.]