Wish Lists
Daybook February 12, 2011

Dinner & A Movie


Every Sunday evening we enjoy Sunday Dinner & Family Movie.

Last Sunday we watched The Spirit of St. Louis, in honor of Charles Lindbergh’s birth on February 4, 1902.

Obviously it’s an older film, starring Hollywood Legend Jimmy Stewart.  An actor my boys have seen in many films.

{There's no way to avoid that around here - I’m a major old movie fan.  So much so that one of first questions out of Little Bit’s mouth when we begin to watch a movie has long been “Is in in color or black & white?")

My boys like Jimmy Stewart.  They like his drawl, his easy portrayal of the “ordinary man”, and the funny way he screeches “Hello Bedford Falls!!” in It’s A Wonderful Life.

And they enjoyed The Spirit of St. Louis.  Though I suspect they would have enjoyed it more had they not first seen the American Experience biography of Charles Lindbergh.

Despite his accomplish in 1927, none of my boys are able to find Lindbergh truly heroic.

They understand his role in the pre WWII America First Committee.  They understand this Isolationist Movement was actually quite popular in the US prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor and our country entering the war.

 They feel sympathy and horror at the abduction and murder of Lindbergh’s oldest son, nearly a decade earlier in 1932.

But they cannot get over his touring of Hitler's Luftwaffe, and his acceptance of the German medal of honor, presented to him by Hermann Goering, nor what they (and many others) continue to view as Lindbergh’s anti-semitic beliefs.

  And they were totally turned off by his extra marital affairs and the children resulting from them.

Of course The Spirit of St. Louis mentions none of these things.  

It’s setting is earlier; when Lindbergh was known as “Slim”, when he was an airmail pilot and a barnstormer.  It’s focus is on his tenacity, his analytical & engineering skills.  His seemingly innate ability as a pilot.  And the “never give up, never surrender” attitude which carried him through.  

I like the young Lindbergh, I feel great sorrow and empathy for Charles Lindbergh, and especially his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh during the nightmare kidnapping & death of their baby boy, and I wonder at the older Lindbergh.

I’m sure he felt betrayed by the many Americans who turned against him during & after WWII.  He had previously been idolized as few others ever had.

Today, only a handful seem to know that, though he was refused reentry to the AirCorp when the war broke out, he still flew over 50 combat missions as a civilian in the Pacific theatre.  

And his contributions to aeronautics as well as other branches of science (including an artificial heart) were numerous.

He was a scientist, an adventurer, a conservationist, and, eventually, reinstated into the Army Air Corp as a Brigadier General.

And of course, he won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for The Spirit of St. Louis - the story of the young Lone Eagle’s nonstop flight from the US to Paris.

Naturally Charles Lindbergh was flawed.  Aren’t we all.  And I tell my boys, as with anything in life, we take what we can learn from someone or something, and make what peace we’re able with the rest.  

From Lindbergh take tenacity, determination, focus, passion.  

And as for Anne Morrow Lindbergh?  Ah, she has long been one of my favorite writers.  She deserves a post of her own.


Stenciled house