Many people grew up hearing the story of the "candy bomber," a man who dropped hundreds of pounds of candy into Berlin during the Berlin airlift.
That man was Col. Gail Halvorsen, who Glenn Beck on Monday described as "legendary." Beck said he feels uncomfortable talking about his faith, but he saw a movie this weekend called "Meet the Mormons" that featured Halvorsen's story, and he knew he had to share it.
Beck invited Halvorsen on his show Monday, and the retired Air Force colonel recalled seeing hungry kids through a fence in Berlin who begged him: "Just don't give up on us."
Halvorsen said the children were extremely polite and never begged for or demanded anything. They just asked America not to forget about them.
"I got just about five steps [after walking away]," Halvorsen remarked. "A voice came to me, clear as a bell, and it sure was the holy ghost. 'Go back to the fence.' At that point, I went back and I reached in my pocket to see if I had anything to give them, and I pulled out two sticks of gum."
Halvorsen broke the pieces of gum in half, pushing the four pieces through the fence. He could see the children's eyes brighten, and recalled seeing them hold the wrappers up to their noses, delighted just to smell something different.
"I stood there dumbfounded," Halvorsen said. "But that moment changed me. And I said, 'I've got to do something more than this.'"
Halvorsen decided to drop his own candy rations to the children, telling them he would "wiggle" his wings so they knew it was him. Soon his friends were donating their rations, too, and the amount of candy was getting to be quite heavy.
"Hit them in the head with that going 110 miles per hour, it'll make the wrong impression!" he said with a laugh. "[We decided] to slow it down with a parachute."
Halvorsen soon became known as "Uncle Wiggly Wings" to the German people, routinely dropping parachutes of candy into Berlin. He didn't have permission to do it, and once joked that he was glad the media got a hold of the story before his supervisor.
When asked why his story became so well-known, Halvorsen said: "I think it comes back to enemies becoming friends, and how does that happen? ... The metamorphosis from killing each other just a little while before, to flying day and night [to feed them] is the thing that changed everything around."
A generation of Germans fondly remembers "Uncle Wiggly Wings," and many have said it gave them the hope and courage to endure the Soviet blockade. Halvorsen said he spoke with one Berliner who was a child at the time, who said that more than the physical sustenance the food provided, "what was important was somebody in America cared."
That person told Halvorsen: "I can live without food rations, but not hope. Without hope, the soul dies."
Beck spoke with a number of candy retailers with The Marketplace by TheBlaze, which is selling Halvorsen's book, and they've agreed to donate candy and money to the Wounded Warriors Foundation, the Children's Miracle Network, and more in Halvorsen's honor.
"I will tell you, when people say, 'I just want my country back,' that's what I want," Beck said. "The ability for one man to truly just make a difference."
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