Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Berlin Airlift and The "Chocolate Pilot"

I really liked the idea of tying the story of the "Candy Bomber" (or the "Chocolate Pilot," as he was also called) into this Chocolate Unit. Montserrat has a cute mini unit study here. This subject is close to my heart as I have a special connection with the Candy Bomber, aka Brother Halvorsen---he was in my church congregation when I was young and he is my best friend's grandpa! I actually lived in his house for a semester of college, while he was away. And most exciting of all, I got to go to Germany with him, his wife, and my friend Rachael, right after we graduated from high school. It was a totally amazing trip that still seems unreal when I remember it. 
Bro. Halvorsen was visiting Germany for a bunch of celebrations based around the 50th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, and Rachael and I got to tag along at all the black-tie events, and the ceremonies with visiting dignitaries and 4-Star Generals. We got to visit an elementary school named after him (Gail Halvorsen Elementary) and even see a musical written about his life (which, awesomely, had little-girl Rachael as a character in it!). I have probably never felt so important in my life as I did on this trip (and I wasn't even related by blood---though he is my adopted grandpa too) :)
Menu, commemorative coin, and nametag from one of the dinners. "Miss Marilyn!" I love it.
I love Brother Halvorsen and even though I've heard his story probably dozens of times over the years, I never stop being amazed and moved by it. He always says, "From little things come big things!" I love his humility and his kindness and his wonderful sense of humor, and I love him for how he treated me like his own granddaughter and was so good to me over the years. And he looks exactly the same now as he did when I was young! He never ages!
Last year, my mom took Abe to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert, and to her surprise, they had a whole segment featuring Brother Halvorsen! They showed a video about his story, and at the end, parachutes holding chocolate bars actually dropped from the sky! It's an amazing moment, even when you watch it on the video.
And . . . even more amazing . . . Abe caught one of the parachutes! He has saved it and treasured it since then (he won't even eat the candy!), and I love it, because now he feels like he has a special connection with Bro. Halvorsen too!

It was so fun to talk with the children about Bro. Halvorsen's story, and to remember and show them pictures from my trip to Germany with him. Abe got this book for Christmas, so we read that and watched the accompanying DVD (so awesome). We also read a couple other books about the Berlin Airlift and "Operation Little Vittles."

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