April 17, 2000
Timothy A. Chopp, Founder/President of the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation, phoned me that their C-54 “Spirit of Freedom” flying Museum would be at Showalter’s Flying Service, Orlando Executive Airport, the 17 th and hoped my Airlift veteran brother Harry and I could join them. Tim, the pilot/mechanic, would have Airlift veterans as the rest of his crew!
I asked Harry’s son Rick, in Orange Park near Jacksonville, to join us. Bob Showalter’s kind permission was given that we park close to the C-54 on the tarmac as Harry’s health wasn’t the best, but his determination was. Rick picked up his dad in Orange City then me in Orlando for the only time Harry could sit in the C-54 pilots seat again at age eighty and reflect on his Airlift experience at the age of twenty-four. Rick sat across from him in the co-pilots seat taking photos and gaining a deeper understanding of his dad’s contribution along with all who made this magnificent aerial supply to beleaguered Berlin a success.
For me actually being in this wonderful C-54 Airlift memorial/reminder while imagining my brother’s historic flying was indescribable!
The whole event with all its nuggets of fascination lifted our spirits and was good medicine for Harry. A memory dose, in any amount, at any time, could be taken with all good side effects! Rick and I could take doses of this nostalgic journey medicine with him and all that it means, celebrating kindness.
As we drove away, Rick enthused about Timothy and crew, “They’re sure a good bunch of guys!” He spoke for Harry and me too.
The following January 29, 2001, Harry departed to God’s Home. It is good to look back and say, “I’m glad we did that,” taking another “memory dose.”