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Checkpoint Charlie

January 29th, 2006

So I haven’t been able to talk to Penny on our webcams because she’s never home, but for now I thought I’d do some old fashioned blogging.

Since I have nothing to do on the weekends and I start to go a little crazy if I just stay home watching The Daily Show (thank you Internet!) I decided to do some sightseeing. The only place I knew in Berlin was Checkpoint Charlie.

For those of you who a) are too young to remember the Wall and b) haven’t seen Ross McElwee and Marilyn Levine’s movie Something to Do with the Wall then Checkpoint Charlie probably means nothing to you. Well, I was 9 when the Wall came down but I remember Peter Jennings telling me it was important.

Part of the Wall

It looked like they were having a good time taking it down anyway. But I did see Something to Do with the Wall and I think I remember that Checkpoint Charlie was kind of the geographic center of the movie. Anyway, I heard that it was still there, so it seemed like something to see.

Checkpoint Charlie Far

I think Checkpoint Charlie was named after an American soldier named Charlie who was killed trying to cross over from the East. There’s big picture of him in a touching memorial.


I don’t know what he was doing in the East. Probably busting some Commie ass. I didn’t take that picture. It’s from a postcard.


I took a picture of this thing thinking I was photographing history, but I found out later on the Internet that it was rebuilt in 2000 so they could sucker people like me into taking 2 subway trains halfway across the city

Subway map

to see some fake checkpoint that doesn’t even mean anything to me.

Next time I’m staying home to watch CNN International.

I liked this sign though.

Leaving The American Sector

I thought I did that weeks ago.

Entry Filed under: Travelogues


  • 1. Jeff  |  February 20th, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    Hi! Interesting post on the Checkpoint. I was tooling around the Internet and came across this picture of my postcard (well, not mine – just has my face on it) on your blog.

    Military checkpoints are often given names, but also alphabetic designators like A (Alpha), B (Bravo), and C (Charlie). In East Germany, we had three; one in Helmstedt (the old border to the west), one on the southwestern edge of the city, and one between east and west Berlin. The Soviets were required to allow us access at all three.

    I was in Berlin before the wall fell and stayed with the U.S. Army in Berlin until 1994. I am still in and on my way from VA Beach to Seattle for my last assignment before I get out. I found out my face was used for the memorial in 1999 and think it makes great coffee table conversation. I also have relatives (my wife is from Berlin) still in the city andn get back frequently.

    I hope you enjoyed your stay in Europe.


  • 2. Jimmy  |  August 7th, 2006 at 9:05 am

    Wow! The Checkpoint Charlie guy posted on your blog! I was just up there during th World Cup. Sweet!

  • 3. Miss Ladybug  |  June 14th, 2008 at 5:38 am

    I was a sophomore in college when the Wall came down. My dad was in the Army and stationed in Germany at the time, but I was back in the States for school. With my dad’s job, we’d been in Germany before, and I’d been to Berlin twice before, when I was in grade school. It coming down was something I thought I’d never see. The following summer, when I went home, my family went to Berlin again. I did a post a while back in which I posted some photos from those trips to Berlin. I continue to get hits from people doing Google image search (not sure the the search phrase) taking them to some of those images. Tonight, I decided to do a google search on “Checkpoint Charlie”. One of those images – the section of the Wall outside that shop or museum (I don’t remember which) is what brought me here. I wanted to confirm it is the same section of wall that was there when I last visited in May 1990, and it is. Only it is now defaced with graffiti. That makes me incredibly sad – it has destroyed such a beautiful and moving image.


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