Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Susan Medler
PH 816.268.8245
FAX 816.268.8299

Public Invited to Program and Book Signing with
Famed Berlin "Candy Bomber" Gail Halvorsen on July 14

INDEPENDENCE, MO-Don't miss the inspiring story of the Cold War pilot who became affectionately known around the world as the Berlin Candy Bomber. On Monday, July 14, 2008 at 7:00 p.m., retired U.S. Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen (a.k.a., the "Candy Bomber") will make a special appearance at the Truman Library to share his personal stories from a chapter of Cold War history that will melt your heart.

The program, followed by a book signing, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, President Truman's response to the Soviet blockade of West Berlin in June 1948. Truman authorized a continual daily airlift which delivered much needed supplies and food to the starving West Berliners; the airlift lasted until the end of September 1949.

Halvorsen became famous during the Berlin Airlift for dropping candy to the children of the besieged city using miniature parachutes. His personal mission soon brought him international fame and became an unofficial part of U.S. policy, as he received thousands of pounds of candy and other donations from home. In a recent CNN interview, Cold War reporter Bruce Kennedy asked Halverson how he had gotten involved with the children of Berlin. "I began the operation because the children I met in Berlin didn't beg for gum or chocolate. They said, 'We don't have enough to eat.' … They had very thin rations, but not one of these children would be a beggar for something so extravagant as chocolate," said Halvorsen, who recounts his story in the memoir, The Berlin Candy Bomber.

Roger Miller, senior historian, Air Force Historical Studies Office, and author of To Save a City: The Berlin Airlift, will join Halvorsen for the conversation and book signing. In a nod to Halverson's outreach 60 years ago, audience members will be treated to chocolate candies, generously donated by Russell Stover.

This program is included with Museum admission. However, seating is limited, and only those with reservations will be guaranteed seats. For advance registration, the public is asked to call (816) 268-8221. Halverson's memoir, The Berlin Candy Bomber, and To Save a City by Roger Miller may be purchased in advance at a discount. On July 14, the museum will remain open until 9:00 p.m., allowing visitors to explore Cold War exhibits, including 594 miniature airplanes representing the number used daily during the airlift. An interactive audio station provides first-person accounts of the airlift.

Retired Col. Gail Halverson's appearance is in conjunction with the Truman Library's 2008 Teacher Institute, made possible by the Truman Library Institute, the private, nonprofit partner of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. For complete information on programs offered to educators and students nationwide by the Truman Library, please visit www.trumanlibrary.org.

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, and is located at 24 Highway and Delaware in historic Independence, Mo., twenty minutes from downtown Kansas City. There is ample free parking, with numerous nearby attractions, boutiques and restaurants.

Hailed as America's "best presidential museum," the Truman Library is one of 12 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is supported, in part, by the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, the not-for-profit partner of the Truman Library. The Institute seeks to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history and culture, the process of governance, and the importance of public service, as exemplified by Harry S. Truman. To learn more about the Truman Library and the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, visit www.trumanlibrary.org.

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