Jeanette Blain | News Editor | [email protected]
Photo credit: Gabi Campbell | Art Director | @gabicampbellphotos
Orem’s Cries of Freedom celebration honored history July 3 with a tribute to World War II pilot Gail Halvorsen.
Known as “The Candy Bomber”, Halvorsen earned his nickname by dropping candy attached to parachutes for children during the Berlin Airlift in the late 1940s. At that time, American and British pilots were dropping supplies into blockaded West Berlin.
Halvorsen, who is 96 years old, is well known in Utah since being featured in Meet the Mormons, a documentary produced by the LDS church.
He spoke to the crowd about his experiences as a World War II pilot at 11:30 a.m. Later he boarded a restored Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon bomber for what may have been his last candy drop.
Thousands of area residents came to SCERA Park to watch the World War II bomber and two attending T-6 Texans fly overhead. A mob of children scrambled as Halvorsen released 1,000 candy bars, attached to little white parachutes, from the bomber.
Janelle Baldwin, a UVU communication student, was camped out on the Provo parade route when she heard about the candy drop. She had seen Halvorsen’s story and didn’t want to miss the event.
She said when she arrived at SCERA Park the event seemed a bit disorganized. But, she said, “It was a cool experience, especially knowing his (Halvorsen’s) history.”