Candy bars parachuting to the waiting children dropped from the Candy Bomber.

If this is the last year the Candy Bomber visits the Outer Banks—and it may be—then then wonderful reminder of how powerful a simple act of kindness can be went out in spectacular fashion.

The classic C54—the same airplane that flew the Berlin Airlift from 1948-49, returned to the Dare County Regional Airport for the 18th time. Reenacting teethe actions of Colonel Gail Halvorsen, the plane flies low and slow and drops and to the hundred of children waiting below.

The only way to truly experience the event is to be in the midst of all those children—and yes, adults, too—when those hundreds and hundreds of Hershey’s Chocolate bars come floating down from the sky, attached to miniature parachutes.

There is at once joy, excitement and wonder in the voices of the kids. Not all of them go home with a miniature parachute and a candy bar, and some seem disappointed by that, but mostly they’re just really happy.

The Spirit of America—thats the name of the aircraft—did a flyover at the Wright Brothers Memorial to commemorate the anniversary of the first flight earlier in the day.

The airplane is at least 70 years old now. Cutting edge when it was first introduced in 1942, it is still remarkably graceful in flight. Asked what it was like to pilot the aircraft, one of the crew members remarked, “It’s as beautiful to fly as it is to look at.”