The World War II Multimedia Database

For the 72 Million

Charles Lindbergh in Washington

June 11, 1927


June 27, 1927

On June 11, 1927, Charles Lindbergh received the first Distinguished Flying Cross ever awarded. Since 1927, aviators honored with this medal have included World War II pilots President George H. W. Bush, Senator George McGovern, and astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom, who flew one hundred missions during the Korean War.

Lindbergh’s nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1927, made aeronautical history. The stunt-flyer-turned-airmail-pilot’s flight was underwritten by a group of St. Louis businessmen. Flying his monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh captured the $25,000 prize offered for the first flight between New York and Paris.

“Lucky Lindy’s” arrival in Paris after thirty-three-and-one-half hours in the air was celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic. At the award ceremony in Washington, D.C., President Calvin Coolidge remarked:

On a morning just three weeks ago yesterday, this wholesome, earnest, fearless, courageous product of America rose into the air from Long Island in a monoplane christened “The Spirit of St. Louis” in honor of his home and that of his supporters. It was no haphazard adventure. After months of most careful preparation, supported by a valiant character, driven by an unconquerable will and inspired by the imagination and the spirit of his Viking ancestors, this reserve officer set wing across the dangerous stretches of the North Atlantic. He was alone. His destination was Paris. Thirty-three hours and thirty minutes later, in the evening of the second day, he landed at his destination on the French flying field at Le Bourget. He had traveled over 3,600 miles and established a new and remarkable record. The execution of his project was a perfect exhibition of art.

Coolidge went on to commend Lindbergh’s “absence of self-acclaim, [his] refusal to become commercialized, which has marked the conduct of this sincere and genuine exemplar of fine and noble virtues.”

From Washington, Lindbergh traveled to New York City where he was honored with a ticker tape parade.


Ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience, this is Graham McNamie speaking from the Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Just a moment ago, the last turn of the propellers of the Memphis brought her close into the dock.

In the Navy Yard, there are 25,000 people or so, everybody who could possibly get a pass to get in, and under beautiful skies and also under what seems to be most of the airplanes in the world, the lines of the Memphis are out now.

They’re on the dock, and the boys are making her fast. [thumping] The 19 guns we just listened to were the salute for Secretary Wilbur of the Navy.

The entire quite uniformed crew of the Memphis is now lined up at a tension along the side.

Here’s the dock awaiting Lindberg.

Lindbergh is coming down the gang fence, walking slowly in his hands, quietly dignified, a darned nice boy.

His mother is following, he is on the arm of the Secretary of War.

And again, we get the salute, Secretary David, as well as the mother of Lindberg. [music] [music] And now, it seems to me that Colonel Lindberg is taking off his hat and dying to the crowds and standing up.

His mother seems to be still seated, and now I see the policeman have to push some of the crowd back onto the sidewalk.

He’s entirely surrounded by cavalry.

I hadn’t thought that.

There’s a group of cavalry, and then Colonel Lindberg’s car, and then more cavalry, and then the rest of the parade.

Now I can see Mrs. Lindberg, and as they turn for a minute, I can see Lindy himself, receiving with his usual modest demeanor the plaudits of this huge crowd.

Now listen to this jury.

Everyone on the reviewing stand turns back, inflexively, to watch this boy arrive.

Everybody in the seats, 150,000 people, are straining their necks and climbing on to anything an inch high to three feet high from a piece of wood to a chair.

See if they can’t get the first glimpse.

Photographers, of course, as usual, are all over the lot.

Thousands of them up here.

Here’s the boy.

He’s come forward, unassuming, quiet, a little droop to his shoulders.

He’s tired out.

Very furious and awfully mad.

My fellow countrymen, it was in America that the art of flying of heavier-than-air machines was first developed.

As the experiments became successful, the airplane was devoted to practical purposes.

It has been adapted to commerce in the transportation of passengers and mail and used for national defense by our land and sea forces.

Beginning with a limited flying radius, its length has been gradually extended.

We have made many flying records.

Our Army, flyers, have circumnavigated the globe.

One of our Navy men started from California and flew far enough to have reached to Wired, but being off his horse, landed in the water.

Another officer of the Navy has flown to the North Pole.

Our own country has been traversed from shore to shore in a single flight.

It had been apparent for some time that the next great feat of the air would be a continuous flight from the mainland of America to the mainland of Europe.

I want to express my appreciation of the reception I’ve had in America and the welcome I have received here tonight.

When I landed at Le Bourget a few weeks ago, I landed with the expectancy and the hope of being able to see Europe.


Next Post

Previous Post

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2024 The World War II Multimedia Database

Theme by Anders Norén