A letter from the Spirit of Saint Louis
By Shiloh Appel
On May 20th and 21st, 1927, 25 year old Michigan native and U.S. Air Mail pilot, Charles Lindbergh, flew his custom-built monoplane, the Spirit of Saint Louis, in the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight ever completed from Long Island, New York, to Paris, France. After completing the flight, Lindbergh was awarded the coveted Orteig Prize of $25,000 and instantly became famous. This historic breakthrough in aviation heightened public interest in flight and gave Lindbergh the status of an American hero. The Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics capitalized on that public interest and sponsored a flight that same year following the trans-atlantic flight. In this flight, called the "Goodwill Tour of the 48 States," Lindbergh flew the Spirit to all 48 states to support interest in aviation, the establishment of airports, and the use of air mail.
Today, a relic of that flight hangs on the wall of the Redfield Fire Department. When flying over Redfield, South Dakota, Lindbergh dropped from his plane an autographed letter to the City of Redfield. Identical copies were dropped from the Spirit of St. Louis over various cities across the United States. On the letter, "To City of Redfield" is scrawled in pen in the top left corner, and Charles A. Lindbergh is scrawled at the bottom. The letter reads as follows:
Because of the limited time and the extensive itinerary of the tour of the United States now in progress to encourage popular interest in aeronautics, it is impossible for the "Spirit of St. Louis" to land in your city.
This message from the air, however, is sent you to express our sincere appreciation of your interest in the tour and in the promotion and expansion of commercial aeronautics in the United States.
We feel that we will be amply repaid for all our efforts if each and very citizen in the United States cherishes an interest in flying and gives his earnest support to the air mail service and the establishment of airports and similar facilities. The concerted efforts of the citizens of the United States in this direction will result in America's taking its rightful place within a very short time as the world leader in commercial flying.
Charles A. Lindbergh
To view the letter, stop in at the Redfield Fire Department.