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Spirit of Freedom Crew Visits FHHS

Spirit of Freedom, a restored Douglas C-54E used in the Berlin Airlift, 1948-49

On Friday, November 4, US History students from Mrs. Donato and Mr. Helms’ classes were privileged to hear a presentation from Tim Chopp and two other members of the crew of the “Spirit of Freedom.” The aircraft is a restored Douglas C-54E that was used in the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49. “The stories of the crew were very interesting, and you could tell that they had a passion for what they do,” stated U.S. History student Taylor Williams.

The “Spirit of Freedom” crew visited Forest Hills as part of the Warriors and Warbirds event that took place at the Monroe Airport on Saturday, November 5. The aircraft serves as a museum that is dedicated to preserving the memory and legacy of the greatest humanitarian aviation event in history. As part of the presentation, students watched a video on the historical significance of the Berlin Airlift and then engaged in a question/answer period. The crew noted that their mission involved creating a “flying memorial and classroom” with the purpose of educating the public about this pivotal, yet often forgotten, event in world history.

When asked about the instructional value of this primary resource, Mr. Helms stated, “They taught me a lot about how the airlift actually worked, and it was interesting to see their passion for what they do.” Students, as well, were able to take away a more in-depth knowledge of this historical event as Diana Mapuoletuli noted, “I enjoy listening to other people’s experiences in life, especially something that has to do with history, and this was a great experience.”

The “Spirit of Freedom” was restored as a result of the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation that was founded in 1988. The Foundation helped support the C-54’s restoration and the “Spirit” is filled with artifacts, displays, and information explaining this important event in recent history. To learn more about the “Spirit of Freedom”, visit http://spiritoffreedom.org.

Written by: Kevin Helms
Posted: Nov 16, 2011 by Melissa Howell

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