If you ever wonder how much difference one person can make in the world all you have to do is look at the life and legacy of Col. Gail S. Halvorsen, The Berlin Candy Bomber.
Thousands gathered in Provo and Spanish Fork on May 20th & 21st to celebrate the change he made in the world when he shared two sticks of gum at the fence around Berlin’s Templehof Airport in 1948.
The Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Education Foundation, the Airlift Tanker Association, the US Air Force Air Mobility Command led by General Minihan, the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation with Tim Chopp and The Spirit of Freedom, German Embassy Attaché General Frank Graefe, representatives from the Frankfurt Luftbreucke association, Civil Air Patrol, BYU ROTC, UVU Aviation program, Nebo School District’s Advance Learning Center and many organizations led by and impacted by Col. Halvorsen’s lifelong mission came together with thousands of guests to celebrate his life and challenge the next generation of candy bombers.
The two day celebration began at the Provo Airport with tours of the Spirit of Freedom is a World War II era C-54 that has been lovingly restored by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation and a C-17 that was renamed The Spirit of the Candy Bomber during the even.
That evening special guests gathered in the brand new Provo Airport Terminal to honor Gail with program that included video selections, musical presentations, USAF Strolling Strings, Jenny Oaks Baker, and was narrated by one of Gail’s grandsons and a great granddaughter.
The next day Spanish Fork Airport was buzzing with crowds participating in activities for young and old. Learning from the future and the past, kids took a turn piloting one of several flight simulators and heard stories from Berlin Airlift kids about what they received in those “bundles of hope” that the airlift brought them.
Knighton Architecture gave visitors a preview of the Halvorsen Heritage Center the Halvorsen Foundation is working to build at the Spanish Fork Airport. The center will be home to the Halvorsen Airlift Historical Collection, as well as, classrooms, flight simulators and home to a new Civil Air Patrol Hangar.
General Mike Minihan, of the Air Force Air Mobility Command, spoke to the crowd and challenged them to carry on the mission of the Candy Bomber. “What will you do with your two sticks of gum?” he asked.
The event was capped with a candy drop from the Spirit of Freedom. One volunteer helping to pass out additional candy to children in the crowd after the drop summed up the feeling of the whole celebration when, filled with emotion, he stated, “I love that I get to be a Candy Bomber now too.”
To carry on Col. Halvorsen’s mission, the Halvorsen Foundation challenges you to become a Candy Bomber. Do something for someone else. Put a smile on someone’s face and share it to your social media. Tag it with #twostickchallenge and keep the Candy Bomber mission alive. Like Col Halvorsen was over seventy years ago, you can be the light that brings hope to those around you.