State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

The Candy Bomber

Last night in hopes of avoiding an extra half hour of propaganda that some people call the news, I decided to try BYUTV, hoping for a scripture discussion or something uplifting.  What I got was a homerun–a documentary on The Candy Bomber, which was a story I had never heard before.

Gail Halvorsen, a native of Salt Lake City, was a pilot during the Berlin Airlift.  Walking near the airfield one day, he gave a couple pieces of gum to a group of kids who were clearly underfed and low on hope.  He was touched as he watched them carefully divide the gum as far as they could and then share the wrappers so kids who didn’t get any could smell the wonderful smell.  He promised to drop them some candy next time he flew over.  When asked how they would know which plane was his, he said he would wiggle his wings as he flew over.  On his next flight, he collected all the chewing gum and candy bars from his crew and, without permission, dropped them to the kids by a small parachute.

They kept doing this and the operation grew until the commanding officer heard of it and did some investigating.  After lecturing Halvorsen on keeping him informed, he approved of what they were doing and helped it expand.  Soon, candy companies from the United States were donating large amounts of candy and chocolate to be dropped to the children in Berlin.  Halvorsen, now in his nineties, still returns to Berlin quite often to speak at schools and meet friends who were given hope by his simple actions.

I think this story is all the better because only a few years before, Germany was a bitter enemy.  Sometimes we don’t realize what a far-reaching effect our actions can have.  I have written before about my belief that we can’t create good by doing bad.  I believe the reverse principle is also true–we can’t do good without creating good.  We don’t always see the great things our good actions do, but I believe they are never insignificant.  How much better would the world be if we learned the lesson of Gail Halvorsen and loved our enemies and did the little things that would help our brothers on their way?


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