31 October 2008

Goodbye to a Real Hero

The march of histroy does some cruel stomping:

All day long, curious Berliners came to Tempelhof to catch a glimpse of the airport. Many brought their cameras and they took pictures of the vast, echoing hall and the imposing architecture. A few businessmen rushed to catch the last flights. For many people, Tempelhof was always the ideal inner-city airport - it used to serve short-haul commercial flights.

One passenger, Joerg said: "It's a really sad day. Tempelhof is special, there's so much history here. It's a mistake to shut it down. It's not like other modern airports, there's no stress here, it's lovely and relaxing. I love the nostalgic atmosphere here."

From June 1948, hundreds of Allied aircraft landed at Tempelhof. The planes dropped coal, food, medicine and other supplies to the residents of West Berlin, which had been cut off by the Soviet Union. At the height of the airlift, one Allied aircraft landed at Tempelhof every 90 seconds. The Airlift was an extraordinary umanitarian operation and it kept people alive in West Berlin for 11 months until the Soviet Union ended the blockade.

As a reminder of the airport's rich history, an old "candy bomber" DC-3 took off from Tempelhof on Thursday night. "Candy bomber" was the name given to the crews who dropped sweets attached to parachutes to German children during the Airlift.

What a day to talk to Gail Halvorson. Wonder if anyone working in the media these day knows who he is, or cares what he did.

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