Utah’s Candy Bomber Receives Award from Berlin Native

Jul 7, 2021, 4:56 PM

ST. GEORGE, UTAH – It has been more than 75 years since American troops were sent to Europe to fight during World War Two.  The war left cities across Europe in pieces; homes demolished and cities cut off from the world.  “I do have memories of broken buildings,” said Regine Lovely, who grew up in Berlin. “Bombed down buildings, rats in the streets, severe hunger and Americans being my friend.”  During the Berlin airlift in 1948, U.S. Pilot Gail Halvorsen flew three relief flights a day over West Berlin after the Soviet Union cut off supply lines to the city.  After hiking to the end of the airfield and meeting 30 children behind a barbwire fence, Halvorsen wanted to do more.  “Yes, I call it candy from Heaven,” said Lovely.  Halvorsen began tying candy to parachutes and dropping them over the city – He became known as Uncle ‘Uncle Wiggly Wings’ to the Germans because he would wiggle the wings of his airplane so the children would know it was him.  “It gave me hope,” Lovely said. “And hope is probably the best thing he could have given us at the time.”  Lovely grew up in East Berlin, which was under communist rule. She said they had to hope for the wind to blow the candy parachutes over to them from West Berlin.  “And then we would run like the daylights to just see if we can get one,” Lovely recalled, “and I was one of the lucky ones and I got a piece of chewing gum and I’ve never ever seen chewing gum. I thought I’d died and went to Heaven. I had never smelled or tasted anything like that before in my life.”  Lovely said because of Halvorsen’s actions, she decided at three-years-old to move to America.  “And my goal was to be an American and to find the candy bomber because I didn’t know who he was, I had no name, no nothing.”  Lovely says she continued to tell her story and ask if anyone knew who the candy bomber was. Until a friend-of-a-friend made the connection.  “And he’s been my lifelong hero, and I’ve never met anybody kinder, more understanding, more giving. And as a child I had him on a pedestal, but once I met him, I raised the pedestal.”  Now, 75 years later, Lovely has not only met her lifelong hero but she said there are no words to describe the honor of presenting him with a lifetime achievement award in St. George this weekend.  “It’s a great event, well planned, lots of good kids and that’s where the future is,” said Gail Halvorsen. “Little kids are what I pay attention to.”  Now, Halvorsen is 100-years-old, but that didn’t stop him from getting back in the air.  Before receiving his award, Halvorsen made another candy drop for the kids in St. George, then making his way to the stage where Lovely presented him with an award and a surprise.  “A piece of gum, so we are even,” she told Halvorsen.  “Reminds me of the old memories I have of flying over foggy Berlin,” Halvorsen remembered, “dropping candies in parachutes out the backdoor of an airplane.” 

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Utah’s Candy Bomber Receives Award from Berlin Native