22 June 1990

Checkpoint Charlie is dismantled in Berlin.

Checkpoint Charlie was a famous Cold War-era border crossing point between East Berlin (controlled by the Soviet Union) and West Berlin (controlled by the United States, United Kingdom, and France). It was one of the main checkpoints along the Berlin Wall, which separated the two sides of the divided city.

Located on Friedrichstrasse, a major thoroughfare in central Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie became an iconic symbol of the divide between the communist East and the democratic West during the years of the Cold War. The checkpoint was established in 1961 after the construction of the Berlin Wall to control the movement of people and vehicles between the two sectors of the city.

Checkpoint Charlie consisted of a small wooden shed that served as the main control point, where border guards from the United States and the Soviet Union would verify documents and conduct inspections. The checkpoint was named “Charlie” by the Western Allies, using the NATO phonetic alphabet, to distinguish it from the other checkpoints.

Throughout its existence, Checkpoint Charlie was the site of several notable events and incidents. One of the most famous incidents occurred in October 1961 during the “Berlin Crisis,” when U.S. and Soviet tanks faced off at the checkpoint, escalating tensions between the superpowers. The standoff eventually de-escalated without any shots being fired, but it highlighted the potential for armed conflict in Berlin.

Checkpoint Charlie also gained significance as a symbol of the divided world during the Cold War. It represented the physical and ideological separation between East and West, and many attempted escape attempts were made from East to West Berlin at this checkpoint. Some successful escapes were executed through daring methods, such as hidden in vehicles or tunnels, while others ended tragically with individuals being captured or killed.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent reunification of Germany in 1990, Checkpoint Charlie lost its function as a border crossing. Today, a replica of the original guardhouse stands at the site, serving as a tourist attraction and a reminder of the city’s tumultuous past. The area around Checkpoint Charlie has been developed and transformed into a museum complex, featuring exhibitions that provide insights into the history of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War era.

Checkpoint Charlie remains an important historical landmark, attracting visitors from around the world who come to learn about the division of Berlin and the struggles endured by those living in a divided city. It serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of the Cold War and the aspirations for freedom that prevailed during that era.

22 June 1942

The Pledge of Allegiance is formally adopted by USA Congress.

Swearing of the Pledge is accompanied by a salute. An early version of the salute, adopted in 1887, known as the Balch Salute, which accompanied the Balch pledge, instructed students to stand with their right hand outstretched toward the flag, the fingers of which are then brought to the forehead, followed by being placed flat over the heart, and finally falling to the side.

In 1892, Francis Bellamy created what was known as the Bellamy salute. It started with the hand outstretched toward the flag, palm down, and ended with the palm up. Because of the similarity between the Bellamy salute and the Nazi salute, which was adopted in Germany later, the US Congress stipulated that the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem in the US would be the salute to replace the Bellamy salute. Removal of the Bellamy salute occurred on December 22, 1942, when Congress amended the Flag Code language first passed into law on June 22, 1942. Attached to bills passed in Congress in 2008 and then in 2009 Section 301 of title 36, United States Code, language was included which authorized all active duty military personnel and all veterans in civilian clothes to render a proper hand salute during the raising and lowering of the flag, when the colors are presented, and during the National Anthem.

22 June 1942

The USA Congress adopts the Pledge of Allegiance.

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The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy. It was first given wide publicity through the official program of the National Public Schools Celebration of Columbus Day, which was printed in The Youth’s Companion of September 8, 1892, and at the same time sent out in leaflet form to schools throughout the country. School children first recited the Pledge of Allegiance this way:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

“The flag of the United States” replaced the words “my Flag” in 1923 because some foreign-born people might have in mind the flag of the country of their birth instead of the United States flag. A year later, “of America” was added after “United States.”

No form of the Pledge received official recognition by Congress until June 22, 1942, when the Pledge was formally included in the U.S. Flag Code. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The last change in language came on Flag Day 1954, when Congress passed a law, which added the words “under God” after “one nation.”

Originally, the pledge was said with the right hand in the so-called “Bellamy Salute,” with the right hand resting first outward from the chest, then the arm extending out from the body. Once Hitler came to power in Europe, some Americans were concerned that this position of the arm and hand resembled the Nazi or Fascist salute. In 1942 Congress also established the current practice of rendering the pledge with the right hand over the heart.

The Flag Code specifies that any future changes to the pledge would have to be with the consent of the President.