'Candy bomber' joins tens of thousands on base for 70th anniversary of Berlin Airlift’s end
STARS AND STRIPES
By JENNIFER H. SVAN
Published: June 10, 2019
WIESBADEN, Germany — Retired U.S. Col. Gail Halvorsen — better known in these parts as the “Candy Bomber” — will always be a hero in the eyes of the German children who grew up in postwar Berlin, no matter how old they grow.
Retired U.S. Col. Gail Halvorsen greets spectators after arriving at the 70th anniversary commemoration of the end of the Berlin Airlift at Clay Kaserne airfield, Monday, June 10, 2019. BRIAN FERGUSON/STARS AND STRIPES
Seventy years after the lifting of the Soviet blockade that cut off the German capital from food, fuel and other essential supplies, those children still remember the delight of a chocolate bar tied to a makeshift parachute dropping from the sky.
On Monday, amid a grand celebration at Clay Kaserne airfield to commemorate the end of the Berlin Airlift, some of those children, now well into their 70s, thanked Halvorsen for an act that not only took the edge off their hunger but gave them hope during the bleak years after World War II.
“I’m very, very thankful,” Vera Mitschrich, who was 5 when the largest postwar relief operation began, told Halvorsen on Monday. “I’m so proud of you. You gave us hope. You gave us food. I never, never will forget you.”
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