This Day in History – January 23rd, 1941

Charles Lindbergh PlaneCharles Lindbergh was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist. As a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot, Lindbergh emerged suddenly from virtual obscurity to instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo nonstop flight on May 20–21, 1927, made from the Roosevelt Field in Garden City on New York’s Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles (5,800 km), in the single-seat, single-engine purpose-built Ryan monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. As a result of this flight, Lindbergh was the first person in history to be in New York one day and Paris the next. Lindbergh, a U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve officer, was also awarded the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.

charles-lindbergh1Before the United States formally entered World War II, Lindbergh had been an outspoken advocate of keeping the U.S. out of the world conflict, as had his father, Congressman Charles August Lindbergh, during World War I. On January 23rd, 1941Lindbergh testified before the U.S. Congress to recommend that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler. 

Although Lindbergh was a leader in the antiwar America First movement, he nevertheless strongly supported the war effort after Pearl Harbor and flew 50 combat missions in the Pacific Theater of World War II as a civilian consultant, though President Franklin D. Roosevelt had refused to reinstate his Army Air Corps colonel’s commission from which he had resigned in April 1941.

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