As a U.S. Army military police officer stationed in Berlin, Germany, Dawn Walsh experienced a part of world history.
In 1988 she was assigned to the 287th Military Police Company and worked at the legendary Checkpoint Charlie. During her nearly three-year stay in Berlin, she experienced a country divided and a nation soon to be reunified.
On Nov. 9, 1989, Walsh stood atop the Berlin Wall as chaos and celebration ensued. The wall – once a symbolic boundary between democracy and Communism during the Cold War – came tumbling down.
“Nobody expected it. It was so sudden. It happened so fast,” Walsh said of the wall, built in 1961 to completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and East Berlin. “It took everybody by surprise. It was a real whirlwind.”
Walsh, a third generation native of Auburn who lives today in Kent, describes her first-hand experiences in her debut book, “East of The Elbe, An MP in Cold War Berlin”, a well researched, spontaneously written and self-published story available in paperback and Kindle through www.amazon.com.
For Walsh, “East of The Elbe” serves as a military memoir and a short-read, travelogue through culturally rich Germany. The book is a journey through history, place and time, taking the reader on a grand adventure through Europe at the height of the Cold War. The book – from a woman’s point of view – recounts historical events during and after World War II that led up to the occupation of Berlin, the construction of the Berlin Wall and the destruction of it.
The book includes chapters of her personal life, before and after her military service.
Duty away from home served her well. The experience and skills have led to a career as a security officer for Walsh, 44.
“I joined the U.S. Army straight out of high school looking for an affordable education, but also for travel and adventure,” she wrote. “I would be a part of world history unfolding as I stood on top of the Berlin wall at the Brandenburg Gate the night the wall came down, and again nearly a year later when Berlin celebrated their nation’s reunification.”
Walsh’s time in Berlin would shape her future. She met and married her husband, Ed, near a medieval castle by a lake in Denmark. They soon had a son, Ken. The family explored Europe, following in the footsteps of kings, conquerors and tyrants.
The book’s reviews have been good.
“I hope readers gain a feeling of adventure (from the book),” Walsh said.
Walsh one day would like to return to Germany, a place that has left a lasting impression on her.
“There’s this overwhelming feeling of history,” Walsh said. “It fills you with such a sense of awe. It’s indescribable, the feeling it gives you.
“I’ve always been fascinating by history, so to be in those places and see those things … is just amazing.”