Charles Lindbergh Receives Distinguished Flying Cross at Washington Monument

We dug this photo up at the Library of Congress. It shows the crowd at the Washington Monument, listening to a speech by Charles Lindbergh in 1927.

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Photographers on platform above crowd at Charles A. Lindbergh speech at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
Photographers on platform above crowd at Charles A. Lindbergh speech at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

Just a few weeks prior, Lindbergh had successfully flown his plane across the Atlantic. He arrived in Washington to an outpouring of support on June 11th, 1927 and was honored by President Coolidge on the north side of the Washington Monument, in front of almost 100,000 people. Lindbergh was 25 years old. Does that make you feel a little inadequate with what you’ve accomplished?

Below is a short article we dug up in the Washington Post from June 12th, 1927.

In glorious June weather, on exact time, and with perfect order, the national welcome to Col. Charles Lindbergh yesterday proved to be a gala event unique in history. The outpouring of the people to applaud a modest youth and to see bestowed upon him the highest honors by the President of the United States seemed like a fairy tale.

All the concomitants of romance were there–the world-famous stripling returning like a conqueror, borne on a warship, escorted by scores of airplanes, received with the booming of cannon, the shrieking of sirens, and the roar of the populace; the appearance of his mother, who was led to his room on the ship to clasp him in her arms; the scramble of excited multitudes to shake his hand or touch his coatsleeve; the trampling of cavalry and the sounding of bugles as the procession of infantry and bluejackets began its march down Pennsylvania avenue; the crowded streets, parks, windows and roofs; the myriads of flags flying in a lively breeze; the massing of humanity at the base of the Washington Monument to witness the meeting between the President and the youth; the famous Americans surrounding the hero; the radio microphones, sending forth their message to millions of listeners; the photographers, telegraphers, reporters and messengers–all constituted an ovation more enthusiastic and impressive than has ever been accorded to any other individual, whether commoner or king.

The multitude roared its delight when President Coolidge spoke of the achievements of Col. Lindbergh and turned to pin the Distinguished Flying Cross upon his breast; and burst into a still greater roar of welcome when Lindbergh stood alone before it. He spoke briefly, merely conveying the message of good will which all Europe commissioned him to deliver. They were words of gold, more weighty than a message from kings. They went straight to the hearts of Americans.

Col. Lindbergh won the affection of Washington as he has won that of Paris, Brussels and London, by his shy smile, his boyishness, and his sincerity. The contrast between his heroic flight and his modest behavior is the delight of all beholders. They are unrestrained in their demonstrations because they see in Lindbergh no vanity, no egotism, no affectation, but mere simplicity and unspoiled youthfulness. He blushes to find himself famous.

As the guest of the President and Mrs. Coolidge, Lindbergh will remain in Washington until tomorrow, With him is his mother. They are happy.

Today this youth who was too young to take part in the World War will lay a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Solder, and will visit the disabled veterans at Walter Reed Hospital. his visit will do more good than medicine to the stricken lads.

The Nation is glad to know that Lindbergh is home again. It will acclaim him wherever he goes. He numbers his friends by tens of millions. The good that he can do is beyond imagination. He has directed the thoughts of the country from sickly and morbid sensations, and has taught American youth to lift up its eyes to the heavens.

Charles Lindbergh receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross from President Calvin Coolidge, June 11, 1927
Charles Lindbergh receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross from President Calvin Coolidge, June 11, 1927

Source: DC Public Library

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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