A Modern Story of Hope

A Modern Story of Hope

In 1948, after enduring years of war, people prayed for peace ever after, as expressed by this popular wartime song:

There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see

There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
When the world is free
(Listen at http://bit.ly/2kDjWsK )

But, then an Iron Curtain fell across Europe, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic.”

Berlin became the center of this conflict, spanning Christmas 1948, as Russia cut all the road and rail access to West Berlin, preventing coal, food and medicine from reaching the beleaguered people of West Berlin.

Would a war-weary America pull back and leave the free people of West Berlin to be enslaved by Russia?

President Truman responded with a gutsy call, by establishing the Berlin Airlift, a dangerous and risky attempt to supply the people of West Berlin with coal, food, and medicine.

The events that followed were retold in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle a few years ago when hundreds of small parachutes, made from handkerchiefs, started falling from the ceiling into the congregation below, while “Hal” Halvorsen stood on the stage before a standing ovation, where many in the audience had tear-streaked faces.

“Hal” Halverson, now 97, was a pilot, who, on an early flight into Tempelhof Airport, during the Berlin Airlift, taxied his plane to where it could be unloaded, and then walked over to the fence surrounding the airfield while the ground crew did its work.

At the fence, he saw German children staring through the chain-link fence as the planes and their cargoes of coal, food, and medicine were unloaded.

It was then “Hal” realized he could do more, a lot more to help raise the spirits of the children of West Berlin.


On his next flight into Tempelhof, “Hal” and his crew took the action “Hal” had decided upon at the chain-linked fence where he had given two pieces of gum, far too little for all the children at the fence, but where even the wrappings themselves were treated with care by the children.

His actions became widely known among other aircrews, and it wasn’t long before other pilots and aircrews followed in “Hal’s” footsteps, throwing handmade parachutes with candy bars attached, from their planes as they approached Tempelhof.

The children waited in anticipation for the aircrews to drop candy to them. They sent messages to “Uncle Wiggly,” so named because he had told the children to watch for his plane as it approached Templhof where he would wiggle the wings of his plane.

The Berlin Airlift started in June 1948 and ended in May 1949.

A Christmas celebration in 1948 in Berlin was made possible by the airlift. Coal provided warmth during the winter of ’48, while candy attached to tiny parachutes furnished cheer during that Christmas season.

Hal’s story is a typical American story of generosity, of helping those who were desolate and in danger, and who wanted freedom.

It’s a story, symbolic of this time of year, of peace and giving. See, The Candy Bomber http://bit.ly/2CqXpql

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One Reply to “A Modern Story of Hope”

  1. This is the America I still live in. We still help those who are struggling.

    We also learned each of us can be a victim in our mind of past inequality – real or imagined. We also learned evil women and men abuse their positions of power.

    We realized we all have sinned….all of us….not one of us is perfect. But, in grace and forgiveness and in sorrow for what we have done (and what we have not done) we keep the train moving forward for those who want to ride with us as we add value to society.

    For those who choose to stay on the platform or ride a different train….we wish them the best in their decision. And pray they will do the same for us.

    This is the America I still live in.

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