Between June 1948 and May 1949, the runway at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin was the scene of the largest airlift in history - as more than a quarter of a million sorties, flown round the clock, brought more than 2 million tons of food supplies from the United States and Great Britain in response to the Soviet blockade of the city.
The Berlin Airlift ceremony in May 1998, held on the same airstrip, recalled that proud moment in history when the Western Allies became the protectors of Germany and the noise of the aircraft became a “symphony of freedom” to the hungry and homeless people of Berlin.
Our team staged a presidential speech and photo opportunity that connected the past with the future. We created a setting that featured the original aircraft and the Air Force’s latest airlift technology, the “Spirit of Berlin.” The gathering of 10,000 people included Col. Gail Halverston and other American pilots who had flown in the original airlift.
Our challenge was to convey a sense of continuity between the old and the new by directing:
• the intricate positioning of aircraft, scenery, props and original artifacts (CARE packages from the 1940s) • a military review • musical performances • foreign language interpretation and protocol • camera placements • thematics and choreography
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