Thorn: Ruth, Lindbergh, and everyday heroes

From SABR member John Thorn at The Diary of Myles Thomas on June 16, 2016:

After his 33.5-hour solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20–21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh — a 25-year-old former daredevil barnstormer, flying instructor, handyman, and gas station attendant — returned to America an international hero. He had flown from Roosevelt Field on Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, and neither he, nor aviation, nor America’s idea of heroism, would ever be quite the same again. Man and machine were thrown against Nature, and had prevailed.

His airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, had been damaged by the joyous throng that greeted him when he touched down in the dark, at 10:22 in the evening. The fuselage fabric was flayed by souvenir hunters, fairing strips were broken, and a grease reservoir was torn off an engine. After repairs at Le Bourget, Lindbergh flew the plane to Croydon Aerodrome in London and thence to Gosport, where the Spirit was dismantled by the Royal Air Force and loaded onto the U.S. cruiser Memphis for the return trip. There was no point to be made by flying back.

Lindbergh thought he might “see Europe,” he told admirers in the nation’s capital, where he was honored by President Calvin Coolidge with the Distinguished Flying Cross (and later the Medal of Honor), but he was glad to be back, even though he knew a grueling tour awaited.

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Originally published: June 16, 2016. Last Updated: June 16, 2016.