When 25-year-old Charles A. Lindbergh set down his monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, at Le Bourget Aerodrome in Paris on May 21, 1927, he instantly became the leading hero of a decade of American heroes and celebrities. Lindbergh had not expected any welcome in France, but word of his arrival spread through Paris, and twenty-five thousand people surrounded the plane even before he stopped taxiing. The frenzy continued when Lindbergh returned to the United States on June 11, 1927, where President Calvin Coolidge and his wife welcomed him at a Washington Monument stand specially built for the occasion. Coolidge’s welcome and Lindbergh’s brief response were broadcast nationwide. Coolidge lavished praise on the aviator in a very serious voice, and Lindbergh responded humorously. Beneath the joking about a battleship being sent for him, however, was perhaps a serious concern about becoming a prisoner of his sudden fame.Listen to Audio:
Calvin Coolidge: On behalf of his own people, who have a deep affection for him, and have been thrilled by his splendid achievements, and as President of the United States, I bestow the distinguished Flying Cross, as a symbol of appreciation for what he is and what he has done, upon Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh.
Intelligent, industrious, energetic, dependable, purposeful, alert, quick of reaction, serious, deliberate, stable, efficient, kind, modest, congenial, a man of good moral habits and regular in his business transactions.
Charles Lindbergh: When I landed at Le Bourget, a few weeks ago, I landed with the expectancy, and the hope, of being able to see Europe. [Laughter and applause]. It was the first time I had ever been abroad [Laughter], and I wasn’t in any hurry to get back [Laughter and applause]. And I was informed, that while it wasn’t an order to come back home [laughter], that there’d be a battleship waiting for me next week. [Laughter and applause].
Source: Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, Recorded Sound Division.
See Also:"The Greatest Hebrew Ace": "Levine mit Zayn Flaying Mashin"