Friday, May 23, 2008

Berlin Kids

I'm always touched by historical images of kids displaying hope against the larger backdrop of war or Depression or the other unfair calamities that life brings.

So I'm mesmerized by this photo of German kids during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49, anxiously waiting outside the runway fences for American pilots to drop candy.

These kids were born at the start of a horrible war in which many of them lost their fathers or older brothers, their homes, their schools and churches. Now the war was over, but the Russians had suddenly blockaded their city. There was not enough coal to heat their homes, not enough milk, not enough eggs, not enough meat, let alone the sweets that comprise a proper childhood (and, in my case, adulthood). They went to bed cold and hungry. A very bleak time to be 4 or 7 or 10 years old.

And yet here they are, faces toward the sky, hope in their eyes. A chocolate bar! Floating down from a handkerchief parachute! A tiny, random act of kindness that exemplified all that was good in the world, amidst all that was bad.

Happy Memorial Day.

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