In 1997, Reeve Lindbergh, daughter of aviator Charles Lindbergh, was invited to give the annual Lindbergh Address at the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her father’s historic solo flight across the Atlantic. On the day of the speech, museum officials invited her to come early, before the facility opened, so that she could have a closeup look at The Spirit of St. Louis, the little plane suspended from the museum ceiling that her father had piloted from New York to Paris in 1927.
That morning in the museum, Reeve and her young son, Ben, eagerly climbed into the bucket of a cherry-picker, a long-armed crane that carried them upward until the plane was at eye level and within their reach. Seeing the machine that her father had so bravely flown across the sea was an unforgettable experience for Reeve. She had never touched the plane before, and that morning, 20 feet above the floor of the museum, she tenderly reached out to run her fingers along the door handle, which she knew her father must have grasped many times with his own hand.
Tears welled up in her eyes at the thought of what she was doing. "Oh, Ben," she whispered, her voice trembling, "isn’t this amazing?"
"Yeaaaaaah," Ben replied, equally impressed. "I’ve never been in a cherry-picker before!"
Sermon: From a sermon by Mark Eberly, "REHOBOAM" 2/19/2009.
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