Monday, November 9, 2009

Checkpoint Charlie

Linda had to work today to help our assistant so I used the day to get some things done around the rig. I rented a carpet cleaner first thing this morning and cleaned the carpets in the rig, then took it in the office and cleaned the office carpet and inside each of the elevators. Made a great difference in all of them ! Today was the perfect day to get it done, before cold weather sets in, with today's temps in the low 70's.

After taking the carpet cleaner back to Home Depot, I went up on the roof of the rig and washed it with the wash/wax mix. It was getting pretty gritty up there from all the road grit here on route 1. While climbing up to the roof, I noticed that one of the black plastic pieces that screws each side of the rung to the side of the ladder is split. I'll need to research and find a new one before I take a spill going up or coming down the ladder.

I heard on the news today that today is the 20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, separating East and West Berlin. I remember watching the citizens tearing the wall down on national TV, all those years ago. It was a very important event for the people of East and West Berlin. The Soviet Union prompted the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961 to stem the flow of Eastern Bloc emigration westward through what had become a "loophole" in the Soviet border system, preventing escape over the city sector border from East Berlin to West Berlin. This event was of personal importance to me because my father had seen this wall in 1968 when he went to Europe as part of a People to People exchange. He represented a group of farmers from the US and he had a wonderful time as he toured Europe, meeting farmers over there. This trip stayed with my father his whole life and he made lifelong friends with the people he traveled with. Upon his return, I remember him talking about "Checkpoint Charlie" and how their group had crossed the wall at this soviet checkpoint and I think he got a picture of the guard that boarded their bus at the checkpoint. This checkpoint was very symbolic to these people and to East Germans, it was the path to freedom. I was only eight when my father went over there but there are a few things, from that trip, that stand out in my mind that he spoke of and this is one of them.

It's interesting but as I was researching some info for this post, I came across the People to People International web site. As soon as the web site came up on my screen I recognized the logo as the same one that was a pin my dad wore on his suit coats. He had a People to People pin that he wore alot. Here is what the group is all about, according to their web site:

The purpose of People to People International (PTPI) is to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures. It will cooperate with any and all other organizations which are of similar nature and purpose. People to People International is dedicated to enhancing cross-cultural communication within each community, and across communities and nations. Tolerance and mutual understanding are central themes. While not a partisan or political institution, PTPI supports the basic values and goals of its founder, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The President’s People to People Program was founded on September 11, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as part of the U.S. Information Agency. After President Eisenhower left the office of President in 1961, he arranged to have the program privatized as a nongovernmental organization and arranged for People to People to become a not-for-profit Missouri corporation now known as People to People International. President Eisenhower was Chairman of the Board of Trustees and recognized as the founder of the not-for-profit organization. It is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in the state of Missouri and qualifies for exemption from income tax under the Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3). PTPI is funded through program fees, membership dues and donations.

Among the early leaders working with President Eisenhower were J. C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, Inc., Walt Disney, Bob Hope and approximately 100 other remarkable individuals from industry, academia, and the arts. The late Charles M. Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, generously contributed three pieces of artwork for PTPI Worldwide Conferences. The organization has reaped benefits from the talents of countless individuals who have supported the ideals set forth by President Eisenhower. Today, President Eisenhower's granddaughter, Mary, serves as President and Chief Executive Officer.

I wonder how my dad got involved with this group. Neat that they still exist. Looks like a neat web site to explore further.

Let us all count our blessings for our freedom. For the Germans, this is a day of celebration ! A day when they got to experience their freedom again after having it ripped away from them for 28 years. Tear down that wall !!

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