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The Candy Bomber???

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
October 11, 2022 3:02 am

The Candy Bomber???

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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October 11, 2022 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a war-torn Soviet-blockaded Berlin following WWII. As he performed his duties, Lt. Halvorsen began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. Knowing that they had very little, an idea sprang: he would bomb Berlin with candy.

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Tell everyone you know. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. And by the way, to check out our Our American Stories podcast, subscribe on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Up next, the story of Gail Halverson, a young pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot at the Berlin Airlift in which U.S. forces flew much needed supplies into a war-torn Soviet-blockaded Berlin following World War II. And we're telling this story because on this day in 1920, Gail Halverson, the candy bomber, was born. Here's Colonel Halverson with a story beginning with the three reasons why he and his fellow servicemen saw the Berlin Airlift as necessary. I stayed in the Air Force, the Army Air Corps at the time, after the war and wanted to keep flying and we were briefed in our pilot meetings all the time, every month, about the world's situation after the war. And we knew from these briefings, the new enemy was Stalin in communism. He'd just taken Czechoslovakia, had the popular democratic leader assassinated, taken Hungary, and we knew he was headed west. The second factor was we knew that most of the 2.5 million people in Berlin, in West Berlin, were women and children, very few men.

And to starve men, take fresh milk or food from babies and from women and children, that's a mitigating factor on how we felt about what we were doing. The third one was when I landed my first trip into Berlin with 20,000 pounds of flour and opened that, had that back door, the crew chief went back, opened the door. In came these Germans, about six of them, to unload and about six in the semi-trailer.

I wondered how these supermen are going to look. And they had mixed uniforms, part uniform, part civilian clothes, doctors, private, all together, for one purpose. They needed freedom, they needed flour, we had both. And when I got out of the cockpit and walked back, the lead man came right up, put his hand in mine and gripped it and looked me in the eye and his eyes were moist. And looked down at it, flour like we're angels from heaven.

And we were on the same page, so there were three factors. So I got to go to Berlin and see it on the ground. I had a friend in Berlin who said, get here, I've got a Jeep for you and a driver, you take you over, you can see everything.

And so one day I came back, it was about the 17th of July, came back and landed at Rheinmein about noon. It was a beautiful day, sunshine, I was supposed to go to bed and fly that night. I had my movie camera in my hand and Bill Christian, a buddy from Mobile, Alabama, was in an airplane in the next hard stand with a load of dried potatoes ready to go to Berlin, just getting ready to start the engines.

I said, holy cow, what an opportunity. Beautiful day, Bill's going, I'll just jump on the airplane with him, I'm not going to bed, I've got a Jeep waiting for me in Berlin, I get off the flight line, I'll go over the sea and get these great movies. And so I told John Pickering, my co-pilot, go to bed John, you and Elkins get to bed, I'm going to Berlin.

You're crazy. I said, I know it, but I'm going to Berlin. If this thing stops tomorrow, they're going to send us all home. They're not going to let everybody go sightseeing to Berlin. And I want to see Berlin, I want to see Hitler's bunker, I want to see the Reichstag up close. I love history. And here I was, right in the middle of it, I said, I want to, I'm going to Berlin. I'll see it before I go back. All you need is a uniform, airplanes come back, no reservations required. So I jumped on the airplane, went back, we called in, the Jeep was waiting, but before I went around town I wanted to get on the end of the runway and take pictures of the airplanes coming over the buildings before we had to come between the buildings.

And that's how dumb I was, I thought it was going to be over that quick. I thought I was there to get movies if I ever had any kids to show them the approach. And so I went around there and started shooting movies, the airplanes coming over, barbed wire fence in front of me, bombed out buildings a couple hundred yards over, and then suddenly here were the kids. See the color of their eyes, they're right up against me, looking at this uniform that was bombed three years before, maybe killed their dad and mom, who knows. And I didn't know, I looked down and all of a sudden there's 30 kids, about roughly 30, standing right on the other side of the barbed wire from me, looking at me, and they were friendly. And I thought, why would they be friendly?

You know, here's that uniform right here. And it wasn't the first time they'd seen a uniform up close in the military, Russian first, which is terror, and the occupation guys later. Then I found out later why they were so friendly. Because their aunts and uncles were arbitrarily cut off with the border, not cut off because you could walk across the border then. But they could walk across the border, their aunts, uncles, and whoever, close family type, come over to West Berlin, use the library to see what's going on in the world. They lost their freedom. They lost freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of travel, freedom of religion, freedom of electing who they wanted to be their ruler.

They lost that. So they were over there, and they were telling their aunts and uncles, man, I can't travel, I can't do this, I can't do that. And they knew, they knew then, what Con is like.

They had missionaries from the Conists, not for this program, but negative missionaries, saying hey, this is not very cool, buddy, you know what you can do with these guys. So they were friendly. And you're listening to Colonel Gail Halverson tell the story of why the Berlin Airlift was necessary. The people of Germany knew who we were.

We were on their side, and on the side of freedom. When we come back, more of this remarkable story, not told enough in America's classrooms, the story of the Cold War, the story of the Berlin Airlift, here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns.

But we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to OurAmericanStories.com and click the donate button. Give a little, give a lot.

Go to OurAmericanStories.com and give. Join me as I sit down for in-depth discussions with the leaders at the intersection of technology and business. Leaders like Robert Morkos, founder of Social Mobile. Workforces are being mobilized now, and it's clear that everyone needs a secure, connected device. Whether a vaccine administration machine, remote patient monitoring where they set up your house, electronic visitor verification where someone comes to your home, a lot of it could have been driven by the pandemic and the necessity to build up this infrastructure. But I think it's just clear now that healthcare is mass adopting all types of enterprise mobility solutions as homes need to be turned into like hospitals now. The Restless Ones is now available on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts. Presented by T-Mobile for Business. 5G that's ready right now. What up?

It's Dramos. You may know me from the recap on LATV. Now I've got my own podcast, Life as a Gringo, coming to you every Tuesday and Thursday. We'll be talking real and unapologetic about all things life, Latin culture and everything in between from someone who's never quite fit in.

Listen to Life as a Gringo on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And we continue with our American stories and the story of Colonel Halverson and in the end the story of the Berlin Airlift and why it was so necessary and in the end so remarkable and emblematic of the people, the country that made it happen. American-style freedom was their dream and Hitler's past and Stalin's future was their nightmare. They knew. Those kids, 8 to 14, they were giving me a lesson about freedom. Look, they said, it's pretty good here in July.

You know, the weather's not too bad against the storm. But you wait. They had school English. Some of us spoke pretty good English.

I couldn't speak any German. They said, come the winter and the fall, you can't get in here. It's going to be bad.

Kids, give me a lecture. But when that happens, don't worry about us. We don't have to have enough to eat.

Just don't give up on it. Someday we'll have enough to eat. But if we lose our freedom, we'll never get it back. American-style freedom was their dream. They knew about the other system. Those kids were incredible. I just said, holy cow. And I got so interested in listening to them. I looked and saw somebody. I said, I've been there over an hour. And I said, boy, the jeep might not be waiting. I got to get out of here. So I started to run. See you later, kids.

And got about five steps. And the kids, I stopped. I said, boy, these incredible kids. I said, well, they got a postgraduate degree in international relations. They know what's important. They got their head screwed on.

They really know what's important. And the little voice just came back again. I don't know how it overcame to get to the jeep.

You're late. But it did. It intrigued me. And then I knew in a flash why. Because during the war and after the war, I walked down the street in a foreign country where the kids had some chocolate.

Not much, but had some. And those kids would chase you going down the street, intercept you, and surround you, begging for chocolate and gum. And of course, the military, since the Continental Army was Washington, going through a town to give kids stuff from the Russians. They had a little piece of chocolate or a heart attack or something. They'd give it to the kids.

That's nothing new. And then I thought, they haven't had any chocolate for months. They haven't had gum. They already knew what gum was anyway. But no chocolate for months. And not one of those kids would lower themselves to be a beggar for something most driving against chocolate. When they had flour to be free. When they wouldn't ask for more than freedom, lower themselves to beg for something more. It blew my mind. When somebody gives you a million dollars, you don't ask for four bucks more, do you?

You wouldn't ask for that. Well, they didn't ask for that cream on the top because they were so thankful for what freedom meant to them. And when I realized that, I just said, holy cow, I can't believe it. Not one child put out their hand. Not one by voice and flexion indicated he got some chocolate or something. Not one. So I reached in my pocket and just had two sticks of gum.

Holy cow, two sticks of gum? You're going to have fights. You're going to have bloody noses.

Get out of here. Well, I'll never see these kids again. I'll be flying 24 hours without sleep. I'll be sleeping when the autopilot's flying.

Coming to go on the co-pilot, probably. But I can't come to the fence anymore. I'll never see these kids again. How could I possibly give them something? I said, well, give it to them.

It's all you got. I broke it in half, four pieces through the bar bar. The kids, they were translating. I gave them half a stick.

They did most of it. And boy, they looked like they got a $100 bill. And boy, they got a hold of that. And then here came the rest of the kids.

No fight. They just wanted a piece of the wrapper. And the kids with a half a stick, the gum tore off the outer wrapper and the tin foil and handed it to the kids that didn't get anything at all. And the kids, they got a piece of paper, put it up their nose and smelled it and smelled it. A piece of paper.

I stood there with flat, dumb, couldn't believe what I'd seen. Holy cow. For 30 cents, I could buy them 30 sticks of gum and they could have the wrapper and everything. But how do I deliver it?

I can't come out here. Could I get some German to deliver it? Who knows what kids would get it or if he'd even deliver it.

But that time an airplane flew over my head and landed right on the runway behind me. And I got the idea. I'm coming in tomorrow. I can deliver it to these kids. I can put it in that open place and I'll get enough for everybody. And boy, then the red light came on. You got to have permission for that.

You can't drop stuff out of airplanes unless you get the clearance. And then I rationalized. And that's how you get in trouble. That's the first step getting off the path.

And so I thought, well, starving two million people, not according to oil anyway, what's a few sticks of gum? And so I found myself almost horrified saying, kids, you come back tomorrow, stand in this open place. And when I come in to land, I'll drop enough out of the airplane two years before I land if you'll share it. Well, you'll hold. You'll hold. We'll share it, they said. You bet.

Bouncing up and down. And I started leaving. They called me back.

I said, what's the matter? You got to know what airplane you're in. Every five minutes there's an airplane coming by here. I didn't know what airplane because the airplanes from Alaska had red noses and red tails. They crashed in the snow.

They could find them. And the airplanes from Hawaii had coconut palms and stuff on them. Everybody had a different signal. And I flew whatever airplane was loaded. I don't know what airplane got fought. I'm just sure it was a four engine. There were a lot of two engines. C-47 is still fun.

It's a four engine. They said, not enough. We got to know. Then I told them to wiggle the wings. When I come over to Beacon at first, before I go over to East Berlin to come around to land, I'll wiggle the wings. Boy, let's get out of here.

Let's start this thing. So I went all over town and got the movies you've seen and every documentary that every major producer has put out has got my film in it. I took around the city and off the airlift as it went on.

And I took those pictures, went back to several hours, ready to start flying that night. I went to the basic change open 24 hours a day, bought all I could on my weekly ration. And I didn't have enough. So I went to my crew and I said, I got to have your ration. They gave me theirs. I had a big double handful of chocolate.

Chocolate bars, Hershey bars, Babe Ruth, Bounds, and double mint gum. And I broke it up in three pieces, put three parachutes on it. Anxious parachutes. And the next day, flew that night, of course, and the next day before noon, the weather was good. Looked down there and those kids were right in the open place.

Between the bombed out buildings and the barbed wire fences. They hadn't told anybody else. It was a small group. Wiggled the wings and they went crazy. Still see their arms when they came over the bombed out building. Right behind the pilot seat is a flare chute for emergency flares. Pushed out in case you have emergency in flight.

And it's easy for the crew chief to stand between the pilots and just access that. So as he came over the head, just told him, push it out, and he pushed it out. Unloaded 20,000 pounds of flour, the Germans did, and worried that somebody had seen the airplane as parachutes and get me in trouble and lined up to take off. Or they pulled the parachutes over barbed wire where they couldn't get them under the field. We text it out, there's three hanks just waving through it, all the airplanes. Their mouths were going up and down. We waved and I said they wish they wouldn't do that, waving all the airplanes. Well, that's how it started. And you're listening to Colonel Gail Halverson tell the story of how the Berlin Airlift came to be.

Two million people trapped without any means of really supporting themselves. We bombed many parts of Germany to bits and leave it to American GIs to come up with the idea. As he said, a light bulb went off in my head. But then he realized, quote, you can't drop stuff off out of airplanes without permission.

And then he added, then I rationalized. And that's when you get in trouble. More of this remarkable story, the story of Gail Halverson, the candy bomber born on this day in history in 1920. Here on Our American Stories. With the Starbucks app, you can make a moment with a tap. So next time you order your morning coffee, treat someone else and make their day to tell them you're grateful for them or that you've got their back or simply to say thanks. Share the moment.

Download the Starbucks app. Hi, I'm Jonathan Strickland, host of the Restless Ones. Join me as I sit down for in-depth discussions with the leaders at the intersection of technology and business. Leaders like Robert Morkos, founder of Social Mobile. Workforces are being mobilized now, and it's clear that everyone needs a secure, connected device, whether a vaccine administration machine, remote patient monitoring where they set up your house, electronic visitor verification where someone comes to your home. A lot of it could have been driven by the pandemic and the necessity to build up this infrastructure. But I think it's just clear now that healthcare is mass adopting all types of enterprise mobility solutions as homes need to be turned into like hospitals now. The Restless Ones is now available on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts. Presented by T-Mobile for Business. 5G that's ready right now. What up?

It's Dramos. You may know me from the recap on LATV. Now I've got my own podcast, Life as a Gringo, coming to you every Tuesday and Thursday. We'll be talking real and unapologetic about all things life, Latin culture and everything in between from someone who's never quite fit in. Listen to Life as a Gringo on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by State Farm.

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And we continue with our American stories and the story of the Berlin Airlift. How it came to be. How it happened. And we're telling this story because on this day in 1920, Gail Halverson, the candy bomber, was born.

Let's continue where Gail last left off. After the first drop, let's see, it was about three weeks later, when I got called in and chewed out because I didn't have permission by Colonel Hahn. It was about that long ago and then they said, it's okay, but you've got to report down to Frankfurt, to the press center at Frankfurt. They want to know all about it. So this news release came out. So it was then I knew that, boy, something really, somebody really thought this was a crazy idea. So I went in and all the news agencies, of course, were covering the Berlin Airlift. So they were all there in this big press center in Frankfurt. And I was pretty humbled. The first Lieutenant guy had a chauffeur and a driver and took me into Frankfurt in a hurry and all these guys waiting for me. Wow.

What have I got? What happened? Then I knew. And then I was crazy. Everybody was talking about it. When the word got out, we came back from Berlin to the beds and there'd be boxes of chocolate bars, gum.

The guys give the ration. And we figured that overall we must have dropped about 250,000 parachutes during the course of the blockade. We were able to drop. My buddies dropped after I left. They kept dropping and dropped until the end of September 1949.

So it went on that long. What happened is that the American Confectioners Association, that represents all the candy makers in America, got a hold of me when I was in New York in September 1948 to pick up an airplane. General Tunner had me stay for a week in New York and appear on the early television program, We the People and a number of radio talk shows to inform people about what the airlift was like and my operation. And the representative of the American Confectioners Association said, how much of this stuff can you use?

I gave him some ridiculous number. And later they sent 6,000 pounds of chocolate bars by boat and by rail through Bremerhaven down to Rhine Mine. I came back from Berlin one day and an officer met me with a jeep and said, come with me.

He said, I'll show you. He went over the railway spur on Rhine Mine and there was a boxcar with an armed guard. And I said, what's in the boxcar? He said, chocolate bars. And it was two shipments of one 3,000 pounds, one 3,500 pounds of chocolate bars. And we couldn't drop that much because we couldn't tie up the parachute.

We were too busy. And so we decided to have a Christmas party in Berlin with that. And we got that about the middle of December 1948, those shipments. And we unloaded and put it in a supply building for somebody there all the time to guard it because, boy, that was enough chocolate to buy King Ludwig's Castle on the black market. It was an incredible value. And so we accumulated all of it before Christmas.

And on the 24th of December 1948, the German Youth Association in Berlin, the youth of West Berlin, and the military teamed up and had Christmas parties for the kids all over West Berlin for that amount. But from then on, they said, we can't handle it this way. If we had it ready to drop, then we could drop it all over the city as we came in. And so they said, okay. I don't know how they found it, but Elms Junior College in Chickapea, Massachusetts, and Mrs. O'Connor said, we'll handle that project for them.

We'll send all the candy to us, and we'll tie up the parachute, put it in boxes ready to drop, and ship it. In Chickapea, Mass., they had a fire station, an old fire station, that they got a new one. So the city gave it to them. They had a big sign up from Operation Little Biddle. And 22 schools with alternate tying up parachutes. And sailboat companies donated old sail cloth. They have cut it up, parachutes about the size of Manchang, just a little bigger. And the twine companies gave them all the twine.

The cardboard companies gave them all the cardboard. They had processed 18 tons through that facility by January 1949. And Westover Air Force Base was right next to Chickapea, Mass. It was one of the big transport bases that supported Rhine Mine. And there's airplanes going back and forth all the time. And so I had all my squadron over there organized so that we had a map of Berlin with pens and a map on the best places to drop through the cloud.

When it was cloudy, we knew where the homing beacons were around the city for navigation. And so we knew where the biggest playgrounds were, where the children were most likely congregating. So we'd bring those boxes in and the pilot would take them out. And we quit dropping by the end of the runway because the crowd was too big and concentrated area and I was afraid the kids getting hurt.

Bigger guys running over them for the stuff. So we started dropping randomly all over the city. So when we come over different parts of the city where we wanted to drop, the crew chief would go back and just check this. Cut the top of the cardboard box and just chuck it up against the escape hatch and the stuff would come out like popcorn and just blow all over the place and scatter all over the countryside. We'd drop it from 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet and they'd just go all over.

I've got letters from kids that would see it. One man in 1998, we flew the, I'm still flying the Berlin Air Lift flying museum, the Spirit of Freedom, the Berlin Air Lift Historical Foundation airplane. And we make parachute drops out of it a lot. We go to air shows all over the country. In 1998, we flew it across the North Atlantic back to Europe.

Sixty-nine days in Europe. Air shows and air drops in Great Britain, France, Luxembourg and Berlin twice. And in Berlin, when the people would come through the airplane, you could tell immediately those who were there during the blockade. They were very emotional about telling you, thanks for our freedom.

And with moist eyes, they'd tell you how much it meant to them. And you've been listening to Colonel Gale Halverson tell the story of the Berlin Air Lift after that first drop of his, the one where he didn't ask for permission. Well, just a few weeks later, he was hauled in, as he put it, and chewed out. But soon thereafter, he found himself in Frankfurt in a big press conference. He'd stumbled onto something.

By the way, this old adage that my dad taught me, a military adage, better to ask for forgiveness than permission. And boy, is it no better evidence of that than right here. And my goodness, starting the drop in one place created problems. Everybody started to gather. Then the next thing you know, Halverson was worried that young kids would get trampled by the starving big kids. So then the drop started to get scattered all over Germany. And from one to two thousand feet, can you imagine being starving and waiting for stuff to come out of the sky from American planes that had bombed you only, well, just years before?

It's remarkable, actually. When we come back, more of the story of the Berlin Air Lift here on Our American Stories. With the Starbucks app, you can make a moment with a tap. So next time you order your morning coffee, treat someone else and make their day.

To tell them you're grateful for them or that you've got their back or simply to say thanks. Share the moment. Download the Starbucks app. Hi, I'm Jonathan Strickland, host of the Restless Ones. Join me as I sit down for in-depth discussions with the leaders at the intersection of technology and business. Leaders like Robert Morkos, founder of Social Mobile. Workforces are being mobilized now, and it's clear that everyone needs a secure, connected device, whether a vaccine administration machine, remote patient monitoring where they set up your house, electronic visitor verification where someone comes to your home. A lot of it could have been driven by the pandemic and the necessity to build up this infrastructure. But I think it's just clear now that health care is mass adopting all types of enterprise mobility solutions as homes need to be turned into like hospitals now. The Restless Ones is now available on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts. Presented by T-Mobile for Business. 5G that's ready right now. What up?

It's Dramos. You may know me from the recap on L.A. TV. Now I've got my own podcast, Life as a Gringo, coming to you every Tuesday and Thursday. We'll be talking real and unapologetic about all things life, Latin culture and everything in between from someone who's never quite fit in. Listen to Life as a Gringo on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by State Farm.

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And we continue with our American stories and with Colonel Gail Halverson, who was there and who in essence sort of got the thing rolling, the idea of the Berlin Airlift. Let's return where Gail last left off. But one of the men that came through, he's 60 years old, and said to me 50 years ago I was a boy at 10 going to school and the clouds were very low and it was raining and I knew you were using radar to land because I couldn't see any airplanes. And suddenly out of its cloud came a parachute with a fresh Hershey candy bar and landed right at my feet. And it took me a week to eat it.

I hit it day and night. And he said it's not the chocolate that's important. What's important was that somebody in America knew I was in trouble. Somebody cared. He said I can live on thin rations but not without hope.

Without hope the soul dies. And one little boy was going to school. Suddenly here come a bunch of parachutes.

It wasn't that bad of weather before. And they were picking them up but he was out of the group of ways and he saw that one landed in the duck pond. And he went in the duck pond after it. He got all monkey with duck stuff and everything else. They got the parachute and the chocolate bar and they went on to the school. It wasn't very far from where they caught it. The headmaster.

So I went what are you doing coming to school? All muddy and all messed up and he showed him the thing and the guy said oh that's alright, that's alright, that's okay. I think he had the same moment to change his clothes. It was exciting for him.

They never knew where he was going. The East Berlin kids wrote to me and said look we can't help it where they put the border. We're here with these Russians. We like the Americans and we're getting some of that stuff. We come over to West Berlin and we're catching it. We'd like to have you drop it over East Berlin. There's not so many people over here. It would be a lot better for us. So I said why not?

So I did and it would be fun. There are some soccer fields in our pattern as we'd go around East Berlin. When they'd be playing soccer, that's what I liked the best because we'd save the candy as we got over the kids playing soccer in East Berlin and kick it out.

The soccer ball would go one direction, the kids would chase the ball, the parachutes going somewhere else, break up the soccer game but that was fun to watch. We'd bank the airplane and get a look at what's going on. So I had to quit in East Berlin because the Soviets complained to the State Department that it's a dirty capitalist trick. They're trying to influence the minds of the young people against us, the Soviets, by giving them chocolate. They said it was a CIA operation. This government operation has got to stop. Well, it was never a government operation. And so I came back from Berlin one day and this officer met the airplane and says, what are you doing over East Berlin?

And then I knew I was in trouble. He said, well, you've got to stop and he told me why. I've had lots of people in East Berlin that I've met that have caught parachutes ask me why I quit. That's politics, not people.

Politics is the problem. I guess it's addictive. The only drug I was very addicted to was a smile on a kid's face when he got something unexpected. I didn't think I did anything special.

I just gave kids two sticks of gum. I just keep thinking it's just two sticks of gum. That's all it is. And whatever's made of it, it's somebody else. It's not my doing. Whenever you think that you're causing all the good things to happen, boy, you're in deep trouble. I mean, from then on, you're off the path of life. If you don't give credit for the good Lord of what he's made available to us and what other people do for you, then you just as well say, hey, buddy, I'm not a contributor to society anymore. I'm a millstone in the system.

I think the airlift to me was a reinforcement of the things my church taught me all my life and my family taught me. Basically, money is not the answer to happiness. The more you get, the more you want.

And there's just no way it's an open ended chase for the fountain of youth. But the only way that real fulfillment is serving others. Service before self. That's one of the Air Force core values. Service before self. And that's what the Savior taught. This is life. If you want happiness, serve others. The Dead Sea is dead because it takes in all the good ideas of fresh water and gives out nothing.

So it's dead. And people are that way. They say, give me, give me all the time and give not of themselves. The Dead Sea souls.

And that was demonstrated in the space. 31, well, Jesus Christ said, greater love than this hath no man than he lay down his life for a friend. And 31 of his buddies gave their lives for an enemy, Germans that became a friend.

Why? Because the service, the reward you get, you can't buy by helping somebody, especially helping somebody in need. And the enemy is the epitome. If you're able to do that, well, that's the ultimate.

If you're able to forgive and to serve an enemy. So service before self. That was the perfect demonstration.

Absolute perfect demonstration. And that indicates what my parents and my church taught me. The other thing is the little decisions you make in life are important, extremely important, more important than big decisions, because they put your footsteps and your mindset on a path that leads you to your final destination, your final position.

And you're down that path where you're not going to return when the big decision comes. That little decision. The two sticks of gum. The whole world changed for me. The two sticks of gum.

That's about as small as you can get. Where does the little decision come from? Well, we get an impression. Everybody's got a conscience, a spirit.

We believe every person has a conscience. And you've got a trigger. And it tells you very subtly what you ought to do. Then you argue with it and do something different. Then you miss out on the good things in life. The gratitude and break down the wall between people when you're grateful for something and don't think that you've invented the world by yourself and everything that happens to you is because of how smart you are and give credit to nobody else.

Boy, you're in the Dead Sea, getting to the Dead Sea again. But gratitude by stopping and telling the lady mopping the floor in the office building on the way out that, boy, you're doing a good job and sure make this place look better. And if you can see that, then be grateful back and that job is getting better next time. And the other thing I guess too is attitude.

90% of the things that happen to us, including the airlift, we can do something about. We can hate the enemy and be mad all the time or we can get on with it enough to get the reinforcement to find out that we're doing something worthwhile. But attitude determines success or failure. In the family, in the home, or in the nation or community, the attitude, how you approach things. 90% of the things I think that happen to us, we can determine how we feel. We have control of that one string on their violin, how we react. That's attitude.

And 10% we can't. That's been said, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, that 10% that you can't change, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to tell the difference. So attitude. Attitude is, boy, it's about everything. And the airlift had all of them. Attitude, gratitude, service before self, and integrity.

All those things were factored in. This airlift to me. And a great job on the storytelling and production by Greg Hengler. And a special thanks to Colonel Gail Halverson, who celebrated his 101st birthday recently. And thanks to the National Archives for the interview and the Truman Presidential Library. There's also a wonderful children's book, Christmas from Heaven, the true story of the Berlin candy bomber with Tom Brokaw narrating the story in the book's accompanying DVD.

My goodness, how rich. To bump into a beneficiary of the Berlin airlift decades later and have a grown man say it wasn't the chocolate that was important. It was the sense that someone out there cared. A person can survive thin rations.

One can't survive without hope. And my goodness, 2.3 million tons of supplies were dropped in the Berlin airlift. 2.3 million tons. It was called Operation Vittles and took place over an 18 month period. And I simply love what Halverson said at the end. The Berlin airlift reinforced many of the things my church taught me and my family. Money is not the answer. Real fulfillment comes from serving others. Service before self.

It's what our Savior taught us. Colonel Gail Halverson's story, the Berlin airlift story, and a story of so much more, including the American spirit and American generosity. By the way, we did this with the British as well. Our compatriots across the sea. The story of Gail Halverson, the candy bomber born on this day in history in 1920.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-19 17:19:11 / 2022-12-19 17:36:09 / 17

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