Charles Lindbergh is probably one of the best-known people in the history of flight. He was a hero of the world. Yet, years later, he was denounced as an enemy of his country. He had what is called a "storybook" marriage and family life. Yet he suffered a terrible family tragedy.
Charles Lindbergh was born in the city of Detroit, Michigan, on February Fourth, Nineteen-Oh-Two. He grew up on a farm in Minnesota. His mother was a school teacher. His father was a lawyer who later became a United States Congressman. The family spent ten years in Washington, D.C., while Mr. Lindbergh served in the Congress.
Young Charles studied mechanical engineering for a time at the University of Wisconsin. But he did not like sitting in a classroom. So, after one and one half years, he left the university. He traveled around the country on a motorcycle.
He settled in Lincoln, Nebraska. He took his first flying lessons there and passed the test to become a flier. But he had to wait one year before he could fly alone. That is how long it took him to save five hundred dollars to buy his own plane.
Charles Lindbergh later wrote about being a new pilot. He said he felt different from people who never flew. "In flying," he said, "I tasted a wine of the gods of which people on the ground could know nothing."
He said he hoped to fly for at least ten years. After that, if he died in a crash, he said it would be all right. He was willing to give up a long, normal life for a short, exciting life as a flier.
From Nebraska, Lindbergh moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he joined the United States Army Air Corps Reserve. When he finished flight training school, he was named best pilot in his class.
After he completed his Army training, the Robertson Aircraft Company of St. Louis hired him. His job was to fly mail between St. Louis and Chicago.
Lindbergh flew mostly at night through all kinds of weather. Two times, fog or storms forced him to jump out of his plane. Both times, he landed safely by parachute. Other fliers called him "Lucky Lindy."