Saturday, November 7, 2015

Veterans Day: a Sweet Remembrance

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: News Photo 101022-M-9842K-158 - Victims of Super Typhoon Megi unload humanitarian aid supplies from a U.S. Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter in Divilacan Isabela province
(By English: Lance Cpl. John Kennicutt, U.S. Marine Corps ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
US Marines delivering supplies to the typhoon-stricken Philippines in October 2010

US Navy 100126-M-8605C-002 A Marine assigned to the Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine regiment, distributes humanitarian rations at an aid station near a landing zone in Leogane, Haiti
(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 News Photo 050514-A-1566H-055
(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.


  1. I loved reading this book, and you've extended Halvorsen's message with more pictures of other military people helping. Terrific to see that too.

    1. Thanks for making me aware of this book, Linda. I just learned that there is a picture book on this topic, Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot:, that I will have to track down!

  2. What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It is an amazing story, and I am thankful that Michael O. Tunnell brought it to readers of all ages! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Wow! That video is so touching! I'm glad Halvorsen didn't ask for permission, but just did it. I've read Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, so it's great to hear that Tunnell's book expands the story. And thanks, also, for the photos of the other service men and women providing help!