On November 11, 2015, the United States observes Veterans Day to honor those who have served their country in the US military. Ceremonies, parades, reunions, and reminiscences will take place. Service in battles will be recalled, and while that is certainly of utmost importance, I'd like to draw attention to other important work of United States soldiers--that of humanitarian aid.
The children's book Candy Bomber tells the true story of US Air Force Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen and other troops and citizens during the Berlin Airlift. Michael O. Tunnell's book is aimed at fourth-sixth graders, but adults would appreciate it and its many photos from those times. (Thank you, Linda Baie at TeacherDance for pointing this book out to me!)
Lt. Halvorsen became known to the children of West Berlin as "Uncle Wiggly Wings," or "Uncle Chocolate" after he saw destitute children who needed a sweet boost. In addition to air drops of food and other supplies, Lt. Halvorsen and others dropped parachutes containing candy. He'd "wiggle" his aircraft wings to let the children know it was him, and they would eagerly rush for the falling parachutes. Lt. Halvorsen became famous for his efforts, but it was not fame he sought. He merely wanted to help others, bringing them hope. See more at his website, and take time to hear Lt. Halvorsen tell about his mission:
The US military continues to provide humanitarian aid around the world. Here are just a few illustrations:
(By English: Lance Cpl. John Kennicutt, U.S. Marine Corps (www.defense.gov) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
US Marines delivering supplies to the typhoon-stricken Philippines in October 2010
(By U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Bobbie A. Curtis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
US Marines handing out supplies in Haiti, January 2010
(By English: Sgt. Arthur Hamilton, U.S. Army [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
US Army personnel handing out food and candy in Iraq, 2005
Thank you for your service, veterans.