Music and the Spoken Word

“From Little Things” - Sunday, November 9, 2014

(Lloyd) In 1948, three years after World War II, Stalin made a grab for all of Eastern Europe, leaving over two million people in West Berlin isolated and desperate for basic necessities. To help relieve their suffering, the Allies began airlifting supplies. One of the pilots, Gail Halvorsen, met some destitute but hopeful West Berlin children through a barbed wire fence near the runway. He wished he could give them something—all he had was two sticks of gum. But when he saw how much they cherished this small gift, he got an idea. Soon Allied planes were delivering more than food and fuel. Gail and his fellow fliers began dropping candy tied to little parachutes to the children. Word quickly spread about the “Candy Bomber,” and before long people were sending handkerchiefs to serve as parachutes and candy manufacturers were donating millions of pounds of candy. Gail’s little idea had captured hearts everywhere.

Distinguished broadcaster Tom Brokaw spoke with Gail Halvorsen about the larger-than-life lessons behind those little parachutes of hope.

(Brokaw) You grew up on a hardscrabble farm in Utah. Everything that you and your father and your family got, you had to earn.

(Halvorsen) Absolutely.

(Brokaw) Then you get thrown into the Army Air Corps as a pilot, fighting the biggest war ever. And I think that probably helped you—on that moment when you took two sticks of gum and divided them into four parts. As your Dad said, “From little things big things can happen.”

(Halvorsen) That’s certainly true, Tom. You know, when things are tough, you have to help people—your neighbors. I’d hurry and get through thinning our sugar beets on our field and help somebody else. And sometimes they wouldn’t have anything to give you, but you know you had to serve others. That fulfillment in life comes from service—getting outside yourself.

(Halvorsen) It’s the synergy, the synergy between service before self. And the responding gratitude, the expressed gratitude that comes back.

(Halvorsen) Service before self, gratitude and attitude.

(Lloyd) Service is something we all can do, even in small ways, even in the worst of times. As the Candy Bomber demonstrated, “from little things big things can happen.”

-Heidi Swinton