"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." - President Ronald Reagan
The battle between communism and freedom has many chapters, from people jumping The Berlin Wall to Mariel, Cuba in 1980. I saw the ugly face of communism as a boy, when my father's cousin was thrown in jail for publicly denouncing Castro. He was arrested in 1961 and released in 1975. Never had a trial, and forget about anybody reading him his Miranda rights. They don't do that in communist countries.
We remember a great moment from the 20th century, or the day that U.S. and U.K. planes began dropping supplies to the people of West Berlin isolated by the USSR blockade. The Soviets were trying to break the back of the residents of West Berlin. Instead, they met a resolute President Truman, who would not allow the Soviets to get away with it.
Eventually, the planes started to drop more than food and heating oil. At some point, the pilots saw kids and returned with something for them. Those men came to be known as "the candy bombers." They dropped candy for the children in their supply bags
One of the pilots was Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen (1920–2021). This is his story:
After the United States entered World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Halvorsen trained as a fighter pilot and served as a transport pilot in the south Atlantic during World War II before flying food and other supplies to West Berlin as part of the airlift. According to his account on the foundation's website, Halvorsen had mixed feelings about the mission to help the United States' former enemy after losing friends during the war. But his attitude changed, and his new mission was launched, after meeting a group of children behind a fence at Templehof airport.
He offered them the two pieces of gum that he had, broken in half, and was touched to see those who got the gum sharing pieces of the wrapper with the other children, who smelled the paper. He promised to drop enough for all of them the following day as he flew, wiggling the wings of his plane as he flew over the airport, Halvorsen recalled.
He started doing so regularly, using his own candy ration, with handkerchiefs as parachutes to carry them to the ground. Soon other pilots and crews joined in what would be dubbed "Operation Little Vittles." After an Associated Press story appeared under the headline "Lollipop Bomber Flies Over Berlin," a wave of candy and handkerchief donations, followed.
The airlift began on June 26, 1948, in an ambitious plan to feed and supply West Berlin after the Soviets — one of the four occupying powers of a divided Berlin after World War II — blockaded the city in an attempt to squeeze the U.S., Britain and France out of the enclave within Soviet-occupied eastern Germany.
Allied pilots flew 278,000 flights to Berlin, carrying about 2.3 million tons of food, coal, medicine and other supplies. Finally, on May 12, 1949, the Soviets realized the blockade was futile and lifted their barricades. The airlift continued for several more months, however, as a precaution in case the Soviets changed their minds.
The Berlin Airlift, and the work of the candy bombers, was a beautiful chapter of an otherwise ugly war that killed millions. It's a nice story to share with your kids about the character of the men who fought that war.
We remember June 25: "Bad day for General Custer": On this day in 1876, a major battle took place near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River. We remember the battle as General Custer’s "Last Stand". "We love Ike": On this day in 1942, General Dwight D. Eisenhower became commander of all U.S. troops in the European theater of World War II. "Beatles go global 1967": Two weeks after “Sergeant Pepper’s” release, The Beatles went global and presented “All you need is love” to the world. P.S. You can listen to my show. If you like our posts, please look for ”Donate” on the right column of the blog page.
Let's add Carly Simon to the growing list of pop singers who are over 70. Carly was born in New York on this day in 1945. My first memory of Carly Simon was her 1971 hit "That's the way I've heard it should be", a very 1970's song. It was also a great arrangement and her vocals were beautiful. After that, Carly had other hits, such as "You're so vain", and married James Taylor. We wish Carly a happy birthday. She was one of a group of great female song writers/performers who released music in the early 1970's. It was great music.
P.S. You can listen to my show. If you like our posts, please look for ”Donate” on the right column of the blog page.