September 1927 Issue
Col. Charles A. Lindbergh, noted aviator, visited Madison, Wisconsin, on Monday, August 22nd, and gave an address at Camp Randall before an audience of 20,000 people. That evening a citizens' banquet was tendered to Colonel Lindbergh which was addressed by several well-known Madison people including Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr. His address is reprinted below.—Managing Editor.
CHARLES LINDBERGH was not content to be the hero of one superb achievement; his ambition was not for himself, but for the fulfillment of his vision of the future of air transportation.
His modesty, his refusal to commercialize his epoch-making flight, won the hearts of all mankind. His bearing and conduct while abroad accomplished more for better understanding between the people of this country and the people of Europe than the work of countless diplomats. His determination to put to useful, constructive purpose the enthusiasm created by his glorious adventure commands world wide admiration and respect.
This tour which Colonel Lindbergh is making of all the states in the Union will go far to transform and direct the awakened energy of a hundred and fifteen million people into coordinated activity that will build airports and bring to our doors the practical advantages of aviation within the next decade.
The value of Lindbergh's personal influence and leadership on the future of aviation is beyond estimation. I was in Washington June 11th, one of that vast throng who heard his first public utterance after his return from Europe to his native land. We had listened to President Coolidge's splendid tribute to Lindbergh's character and achievement. His reply was brief and simple. The circumstances and occasion gave it momentous importance.
He said that everywhere he went, at every meeting he attended he was requested to bring a message home. That message was always the same: "You have seen the affection of the people of France for the people of America demonstrated to you. When you return to America take back that message to the people of the United States from the people of France and of Europe."
The effect of that message upon the notable audience was soul-stirring. No one missed its profound significance. Lindbergh stood out against the Washington monument, the winged herald of good fellowship among the nations of the earth. It will go down in history that he did not don a uniform, that he was not captured by the prestige of military promotion and honors, that he gave all the impetus of that tremendous situation to the advancement of world peace and friendship. From that great hour he has devoted Whig time and thought to the advancement of aviation in the interest of civilization and progress.
My father and Charles Lindbergh's father were friends and co-workers. They had the same ideals of public service. Recently I saw a quotation from Congressman Lindbergh's book published in 1917 which seems appropriate. He said, live in an age of mechanical devices and have the use of methods by which the natural elements are harnessed and made use of and it is natural that men look forward to the time when the people themselves shall secure the benefits of these things."
There is no escape from our responsibility in this day and generation. Those who have been brought up in this school of thought must as a matter of course direct their best efforts to the end that the people themselves shall reap the benefit of air transportation, waterpower, and all these things which are an inherent part of human welfare and betterment.
Charles Lindbergh's father and mother both have records of brave, self-sacrificing devotion to public service. We need not have intimate acquaintance with the family life, to know that their son grew up in an atmosphere dominated by a philosophy like that of Abou Ben Adhem, whose love of his fellow men placed his name first in the Recording Angel's book. We know Charles Lindbergh's democracy is inherent, his sympathy with mankind lasting and instinctive.
The development of aviation will usher in an era of peace among the peoples of the world. Acquaintance and more intimate contact foster friendship between nations as they do between individuals. War with Canada is unthinkable. Why? Because more than a hundred years of neighborly association, thousands of miles of unfortified boundary have brought the two countries together in fraternal feeling, intimate social, business and trade relations that preclude armed conflict. The aeroplanes of the future will wipe out distance, surmount all barriers of ocean, mountain, desert, even the icefields of he arctic. The inevitable result must be mutual understanding and world unification.
Colonel Lindbergh and other courageous pioneer flyers have made us realize that air transportation is not something remote and sentimental. It is practical, feasible. It is here. But he cannot accomplish the task alone, we must all enlist in the gigantic undertaking of air transportation. In this representative gathering of business and professional men I am sure that every person is ready and anxious to devote time, energy and money to the advancement of commercial transportation by air.
The State of Wisconsin, the City of Madison, appreciate the distinction and the value of this personal visit of the greatest of aviators. He has been told many times today that we claim a larger place in the sun because he was for two years a student at our University. We pay tribute to marvelous skill and judgment, intensive practice, incomparable daring and enthusiasm which made possible his unerring flight of 3,600 miles from New York to Paris in thirty-three and a half hours. We express our gratitude for his distinguished service for peace as our "Ambassador without portfolio," while abroad. We congratulate him on his perseverance and statesmanship in utilizing his wonderful triumph and making it contribute to the promotion of aviation in all its phases. We pledge him our hearty co-operation and our unqualified support of the ideals and purpose which we know are back of his great undertaking.