on January 24, 2007
I will admit, I didn't really know what I would see when I went to Checkpoint Charlie. I just knew it was a good opportunity to feel a little bit of history. And that I did.There is so much information on the walls along the sidewalk. I even managed to forget about the cold for a while as I was reading. It gives a history, complete with photographs, through the war and leading up to the Berlin Wall's construction and eventual collapse.The concept of the Wall, like much of the second world war, boggles my mind. How could it seem right to fence people in, even just a mere 18 years ago? One moment that gave me pause was a picture of the world's leaders. Three men sat there, smiling, each representing a country. It can be boiled down to that. Huge countries, warring countries, angry countries are represented, in the end, by men. Human beings. And those human beings are the ones that direct the war and the anger that we end up attributing to a nation and, in doing so, make it so less personal and relatable. Seeing those men in that picture...well, they are just not so different from me. The weight on their shoulders—I cannot imagine.It was a chilling experience to cross that line from east to west. It is so simple, but just a few years ago it was not. If you are in Berlin, you owe it to yourself to visit Checkpoint Charlie as well as what remains of the Berlin Wall. Learn as much as you can about all of it. We must not let it happen again.
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