PROVO, Utah ( ABC4 News) – He’s flown more flights than he can remember. Retired Col. Gail Halvorsen has flown his way into American History earning the nickname the Candy Bomber for his actions during World War II and on Friday he returned to the skies above Provo, Utah.
“There’s no other real source of genuine happiness than getting outside of yourself on behalf of other’s,” said 95 year-old Col. Gail Halvorsen.
Since the wat ended in 1945, a lot of things have changed for Col. Gail Halvorsen but his love for life and children has remained constant. Full of wisdom he made his way down to Provo Municipal airport where planes from the World War II era waited for him to relive those times.
During the war Col. Halvorsen dropped army rationed chocolate to children in Germany.
“Before it was over I dropped tons – about 30 tons – my buddies and I. Chocolate all over the city of West Berlin,” he said.
Today the man known as the Candy Bomber can’t recall how many missions he flew over Germany to bring a slight bit of joy to children in the war torn areas but it was these children’s gratitude that inspired him.
Stepping into a PV2 Harpoon he sat in the pilots chair as he helped the plane take off. He flew over Provo for over 15 minutes before touching back down as if he was back in the 1940’s.
Prior to his flight Col. Halvorsen helped in welcoming 18 naturalized citizens in the United States. It was the gratitude of these new citizens that reminded Halvorsen of the children of Germany during the war.
“It’s a wonderful experience, to see people who value our country and make the effort – I mean effort. It’s not easy,” he says, “You have to jump through a lot of hoops and the journey is long,” he added.
He says the experience to welcome new blood to the United States him why he is so grateful to be an American. And offered a few words of wisdom for the younger generation.
“The future is not in the past. That’s all over. There’s new opportunities out there if you use intuition. do something that’s a little different. There’s still all those opportunities to change your life. It changed my life.”
And finally he added.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to tell the difference.”