At a recent concert held in the Mormon Tabernacle, a strange thing occurred. Small parachutes made from handkerchiefs began to fall from the ceiling, drifting down on an appreciative audience who looked up with tear-streaked faces. It was a moment of commemoration honoring a little-known event that had transpired many decades before, when a world war had recently ended, and a terrifyingly uncertain Cold War had begun.
It was 1948, a mere three years since the guns had fallen silent in the city of Berlin. Citizens of that once-proud and now devastated world capital had suffered greatly, enduring a massive Anglo-American bombing campaign and a brutal invasion by the Red Army. In the aftermath of World War II, West Berlin had become an island of freedom in a great sea of communist misery and oppression that had flooded Eastern Europe.