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In 1948, Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen, an Air Force transport pilot, was on the grounds of West Berlin's Tempelhof airfield when he spotted some 30 German children in ragged clothing standing outside of the fence. Taking part during the Cold War years, Halvorsen went over to the kids, handed them his last two sticks of gum, and promised that he would drop candy on his next flight.
In the months to come, Lieutenant Halvorsen would create a reputation among the boys and girls of West Berlin, as he dropped 23 tons of candies, chocolates, and gum from his plane. Wrapped in tiny parachutes, children would await "The Candy Bomber's" next flight.
“The airlift reminded me that the only way to fulfillment in life, real fulfillment, is to serve others,” Mr. Halvorsen told CNN on the Berlin airlift’s 40th anniversary. “I was taught that as a youth in my church, and I found when I flew day and night to serve a former enemy that my feelings of fulfillment and being worthwhile were the strongest that I’ve felt.”
Lt. Gail Halvorsen passed away at the age of 101 on February 16th, 2022.
To learn more about Halvorsen's amazing story, check out some of these amazing books that showcase the amazing example and life he lived.