The North Bend Eagle


 

Rangeloff at Berlin Wall
David Rangeloff leaves his own mark on the Berlin Wall in 1989, just weeks after the wall was officially taken out of commission. He was an MP providing security at the wall and in West Berling from 1987 to 1990.

From Berlin to North Bend: Cold War relic displayed on North Bend farm

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 11/19/14

Twenty-five years ago The Wall came tumbling down.

One North Bend man was there in person to see history unfold before his eyes. A souvenir he procured for himself is now displayed near his home town.

Built in 1961, the Berlin Wall did not just go through the heart of German capital, it completely encircled all of West Berlin. During its lifetime, 138 people died trying to escape the communist rule by going over, through or under the wall.

David Rangeloff graduated from North Bend Central High School in 1987 and joined the Army. After basic training he was stationed with the “Berlin Brigade,” a group of American and French military police whose job was to secure the crossing between West and East Berlin as well as the highway and trains that connected West Berlin to the rest of West Germany.

Piece of the Berlin WallThis hunk of the Berlin Wall is cemeted into a flagpole stand on the farm of Mike and Claire Eason. The flag pole is from the old Valley Grove School.

Rangeloff said there had been a sense that something was going to happen in the weeks leading up to the world-changing events of Nov. 9, 1989. As tensions grew, the servicemen were told to stay on their base unless they were one of the four people on duty at the wall.

“On Nov. 9 we – 45 to 50 of us – were down at the wall at 2 a.m.,” Rangeloff said. “We were there for crowd control, to maintain peace.”

Rangeloff, who now lives in Omaha, remembers the day as one of celebration. The crowd was already there by the time he reported for duty. The MPs patrolled the scene for about 18 hours straight.

As a 20-year-old, Rangeloff said he did not realize the impact this event would have on world history.

A few weeks after the wall fell, Rangeloff did what everyone else was doing. He took a hammer and chisel and chopped off some chunks of the wall. He brought home 12 to 15 pieces that he gave to family and friends, but he saved some for his future children. He now has three sons.

Mike and Claire Eason of North Bend were the recipients of one those wall fragments. Rangeloff’s dad, Myron, worked on the Eason’s farm.

Claire Eason has seen the wall twice. The first time was in 1965 when husband Mike was stationed in Germany. She and her parents visited Berlin, a trip that included a bus tour of East Berlin.

Rangeloff said that Westerners were allowed in Berlin, but there were strict guidelines and they had to be checked by the East German police as well as the American military police.

Eason said the stark contrast between the two halves of the city were obvious. The buildings on the east side that faced West Berlin had all their windows bricked up to prevent any view of the west.

“It was scary,” Eason said.

Eason returned to Germany in 2010 on a tour.

“Parts of the wall are still standing,” she said. “Some have paintings by prominent artists. Some stand as a memorial.”

Pieces of the Berlin Wall, which stood as one of the most prominent physical symbols of the Cold War for 28 years, have been scattered around the globe serving as memorials to a period of history, with one small piece making its way to North Bend, Nebraska.

The piece of the Berlin Wall Rangeloff gave the Easons now rests at the base of a flag pole on their farm east of North Bend with a plaque identifying the history behind the hunk of chipped concrete.

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