In 1982, my father and I traveled to Germany to visit my brother. We decided to visit Checkpoint Charlie and The Berlin Wall. Our trip began by train and took place during the middle of the night. We were not allowed to open the blinds while traveling. At departure, our passports were confiscated and reviewed by the soldiers that ushered us onboard.
The Berlin Wall separated West Berlin from East Berlin. Construction began on August 13, 1961. Its purpose was to keep people from fleeing to the West. They were in fear of the economic and political environment. Their homes and businesses were being seized.
Visible at the crossing was a large white line that separated the two cities. On the west side, there was a museum that had pictures of people who had attempted to escape by crossing-over the line. We decided to see for ourselves what was on the other side. There was a tall white sign stating, “YOU ARE LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR.” We crossed over into a part of the country that many people were intent on leaving. This was quite an eerie feeling. Guards watched from tall buildings, weapons at the ready, as we were ushered into a small shack, and searched. We toured streets which appeared to be like any other you would expect to see in that part of the country.
In conclusion, this journey taught us the ways in which many people suffered. These landmarks provide us with reminders of what it was like for people to live in a country that was ruled by dictatorship. It also confirms the importance of a free world; where people should be allowed the freedom to leave, and return, to their own country(s), without fear of retribution.