(January 1928), 132-40.
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President Coolidge Bestows Lindbergh Award
Dr. Grosvenor Presents The President
Dr. Grosvenor, in presenting President Coolidge, said:
"Mr. President, Mrs. Coolidge, members of the National Geographic Society:
"During the last four years American navigators of the air, with bewildering rapidity, have made voyage after voyage of amazing importance.
"The first round-the-world flight, the first North Polar flight, the first circumnavigation by air of Central and South America, the first flights to Hawaii, the first flight from New York to Tokyo via Europe, the first, second, and third transatlantic flights from New York to Europe in one summer! And world records for altitude attained in a plane and for millions of miles flown with air mail without accident!
"To the greatest of these achievements the National Geographic Society has now assembled to pay tribute.
"In order that the acknowledgement to our dauntless young navigator may be truly national, our warm-hearted Chief Magistrate has generously honored us by his presence.
"In every one of these outstanding voyages, so fruitful in scientific knowledge, the aviators were men trained, developed, inspired in the Government Service.
"And so to you, Mr. President, the Commander-in-Chief of all of our air forces, whose clear, practical, constructive program has guided, encouraged, and stimulated an air conquest that is phenomenal, the members of the National Geographic Society throughout the Nation extend most earnest and respectful congratulations.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States."
President Coolidge Lauds the Air-hero
President Coolidge spoke as follows:
"Transportation and communication are essential to civilization. Within the year an encouragement has been given to their development that has few parallels in history. The principles of aviation were demonstrated first by Americans at the turn of the last century. In the intervening years their science progressed, both here and abroad. Important flights were made.
"It remained for one of our own citizens in May, 1927, to arouse universal interest in the practical possibilities of travel through the air. His flight, alone and unaided, from New York to Paris thrilled the world. It appealed to the imagination of humanity. How the hero of this exploit was revealed, not as a reckless adventurer, but as an able, sober-minded, modest young man of high and unselfish purpose, has now passed into history. What he did to strengthen the cordial relations between our people and Europe is well known. The wonderful and sincere welcome he received abroad, the acclaim that greeted him at home, are still fresh in the public mind.
"But that was not all. With a clear conception of public service, he determined to capitalize his fame, not for selfish aggrandizement, but for the promotion of the art he loves. He was unmoved by the many opportunities for private gain. The flight to Europe was spectacular. It stirred the heart of the people. But foremost in his mind was the permanent good that might come from thus having directed public thought to human flight. This courageous, clear-headed, sure-handed youth, whose character had withstood the glare of publicity and the acid test of hero-worshipping adulation, became an apostle of aëronautics. He dedicated himself to advancing the science and practice of aviation.
"Taking little time to recover from the strain of his experiences, he started on a missionary tour of over 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers). Flying in his Spirit of St. Louis, the 'Spirit of America' visited 82 cities in our 48 States. Only once did he fail to arrive on scheduled time, establishing a record for reliability. He spoke not about himself, but for airways and airports in 147 speeches and 192 messages dropped from the clouds. Because of what he has said and done we are told aëronautics plans for 1928 indicate an activity far beyond any dreams of six months ago.
"Col. Charles A. Lindbergh, it has been the privilege of few to do as much for a cause in so short a period of time. You have richly merited the many honors already bestowed. Tonight I have the utmost gratification in awarding you this further recognition of achievement, the Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society."
Colonel Lindbergh's Reply
Colonel Lindbergh spoke briefly in acknowledgement of the President's address.
In accepting this medal he said:
"Mr. President and Members of the National Geographic Society:
"First, I want to thank you all for the great favor which has been bestowed on me tonight. The National Geographic Society has aided greatly in the advancement of civilization and in the discovery of many parts of the world and in the upward trend of this country.
"It has been first in the field of exploration and has aided greatly in the development of aviation. In the past, in exploration especially, it required years for achievements that may be made now in hours. In the future it is the hope of the aeronautical industry that the airplane will do its part in discovery and in bringing together and uniting more closely the nations.
"In closing, I want again to thank you. I hope and believe that in the near future we will be flying over practically every corner of the world, and that the airplane will unite more closely the nations than they are today."