As I’m listening to talk about taking in Syrian refugees, I’m reading a book on the Berlin Blockade and Airlift (1948-49) and noting the stark differences in the U.S. response.

In 1948, Stalin blocked all land and water traffic into the western sectors of Berlin – basically to put the entire city under communist rule. He figured the Western Allies would not protect their former enemies but rather cede the ground.

Instead, the U.S. and Britain came up with a way to prevent the Germans left living in the rubble of Berlin (most of whom were women and children) from starving and freezing.

They took on the seemingly impossible job of flying into Berlin all the food, coal and other supplies needed to keep people alive. The Germans were not our enemies anymore but rather fellow humans who were determined to hold on to their freedom to choose a new government.

Thousands of U.S. and British pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers served in the airlift. The pilots flew around the clock in all kinds of weather to provide the Berliners with 12.3 million tons of supplies. One hundred servicemen died in the attempt.

To keep up the pace, however, the air forces had to hire 5,000 Germans (including ex-Nazis) to help build runways and unload and maintain planes. The U.S. and Britain feared there could be sabotage but chose to support the greater good. Over 15 months, there were 27 reported sabotage attempts and four proven instances.

The result of this successful operation was admiration from around the world. The people of West Germany, who became allies, never forgot our help.

Now it’s Germany that has the courage to give almost 1 million refugees, the vast majority of whom are running from an extreme dictator, a chance at a better life?

Where’s our courage to support the greater good?

Beverly Wood

North Berwick