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This tribute to local Gail Halvorsen painted over his 100th birthday details his creative act of kindness during the Berlin airlift. Following WWII, Halvorsen was flying C-54 cargo planes into Berlin to deliver food to those starving within the Soviet surrounded city. One day while at the Tempelhof air base he went over to talk to 30 or so children lined up along a barbed wire fence. It was this interaction that changed the course of his and many others’ lives.
They were excited and told me that ‘when the weather gets so bad that you can’t land, don’t worry about us. We can get by on a little food, but if we lose our freedom, we may never get it back.’” Touched, Halvorsen reached into his pocket and took out two sticks of gum to give to the children. The kids broke them into little pieces and shared them; the ones who did not get any sniffed the wrappers. Watching the children, so many of whom had absolutely nothing, Halvorsen regretted not having more to give them. Halvorsen recorded that he wanted to do more for the children, and so told them that the following day he would have enough gum for all of them, and he would drop it out of his plane.
That night Halvorsen, his copilot, and his engineer pooled their candy rations for the next day’s drop. The accumulated candy was heavy, so in order to ensure the children were not hurt by the falling candy, Halvorsen made three parachutes out of handkerchiefs and tied them to the rations. In the morning when Halvorsen an
Medium type: Paint
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