VENICE, Fla. - More than 60 years after the Berlin Airlift, a memorial was placed in Venice Friday. In attendance were those who dropped the needed supplies after World War II and those who received them.
Songs of freedom and of sacrifice. A tribute memorializing those like John Chadra, who took part in airlift. "This wasn't a shooting war. It was a cold war. It was the start of the cold war. The Russians wanted to take over everything."
Venice resident Chester Nowak is nearly 90 years old. When he was 25 he was one of the pilots who flew the hundreds of thousands of missions into Germany, dropping nearly five thousands pounds of necessities daily. Nowak even survived a crash landing. "We felt it was our duty to help the people in Berlin."
Some of those who came out Friday were also on the receiving end of the missions. "It was surprising. I did not know there was so many here in Venice."
"It brings tears to my eyes to see the people that did this to us." Ekkehard Luck was just nine years old at the time. He has never forgotten the sweet sounds and items coming from the sky. "Planes were coming in every three minutes and you could almost reach up and touch the wheels.as they were coming in. They were throwing out candy, clothing, whatever, it was fantastic."
Thankful for those like Chadra who came to the rescue. "I am thankful to God that I was able to do something good in my lifetime."
A memorial to remember those who gave all in the missions and those who helped save many more. "It's fantastic that people that participated are honored," says Nowak.
The new memorial and the rest of the remembrances are open to the public at Patriots Park 24/7. It's located on U.S. 41 near the north bridge to the Island of Venice.