“With the popularity of Steven Spielberg’s recent movie ‘Bridges of Spies,’ and its focus on the Cold War in Berlin, I thought it would be interesting for you to know that a former Astorian was featured on the cover of ‘Life’ magazine” during that period, Jerry Olson wrote to the Ear. “His name is Don Cheney, who was a tank commander stationed at ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ in September 1961.” A photo of the cover is shown.
If your history is a little rusty, according to Mr. Wikipedia, shortly before the magazine cover photo was taken, a barbed-wire barrier was erected to divide East Berlin and the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies) and West Berlin and the Western Bloc (the U.S. and its allies). The barbed wire soon become the concrete 12-foot high Berlin Wall, and Checkpoint Charlie was one of, and the most famous of, the wall’s restricted border crossings (http://tinyurl.com/CPCharlie).
“Sgt. Cheney is a former member of the Astoria High School class of 1959, and now lives in Spanaway, Washington,” Jerry added. “To my knowledge, he is the only Astorian ever to appear on the cover of ‘Life’ magazine.”
— Elleda Wilson