The Foreign Service Journal, November 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2019 41 Right Place, Right Time Michael Hammer West Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany T hirty years ago, fresh out of A-100 and on our first tours, my classmate Matt Bryza was serving in Poznan, Poland, and my wife, Margret Bjorgulfsdottir, and I were in Copen- hagen. Matt and I had been friends in grad school at Fletcher and were eager to get together. Since Matt was serving in Poland in the bad old Iron Curtain days, he frequently went to decompress in West Berlin, so we decided to meet up there over Veterans Day weekend in 1989. Little did I know at the time that it would be one of the most momentous experiences in my 30-plus years in the U.S. Foreign Service. The journey got off to an inauspicious start. On the train from Copenhagen to West Berlin, an East German border guard took my diplomatic passport, barked something unintelligible and disappeared. Having seen too many spy thrillers, I thought this was it, we would be whisked away in darkness. But instead, FSO Matt Bryza (center, in black jacket) and Margret Bjorgulfsdottir (spouse of Mike Hammer, next to Bryza) join Berliners in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Nov. 10, 1989, to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. 989 MICHAELHAMMER