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Famed Aviator Charles Lindbergh's Visit to Vermont Celebrated

Charles Lindbergh came to Springfield in July 1927

A Vermont community celebrated Wednesday's 90th anniversary of an event that brought immense pride to Springfield: a visit by famed aviator Charles Lindbergh.

On July 26, 1927, a nationwide victory tour brought Lindbergh to Springfield in his plane, "The Spirit of St. Louis."

A massive, adoring crowd gathered at what was then Vermont's only certified airport, to cheer the pilot's instant fame. He had just accomplished the incredible: a solo flight from New York to Paris.

Fast forward 90 years, and his daughter touched down at the Hartness State Airport in Springfield in a glider named for her mom, Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

"It was absolutely wonderful," Reeve Lindbergh said of the flight over Springfield organized by pilots who use the airport today.

"It was probably one of the most important events that ever happened here," historian Bruce Johnson said of the significance of the visit by "Lindy" in 1927. "And it was something the whole community was involved in."

In the years following his grand tour, Charles Lindbergh's life would see tragedy, in the form of the kidnapping and murder of his son.

He'd also spark controversy for initially opposing U.S. involvement in World War II.

But Reeve Lindbergh said she hopes her dad's legacy is his fascination with advancement, while celebrating America's character and landscape in all the places he visited to talk up flying — including Springfield.

"Trying to be sure we didn't lose our environment, our towns, our farms, as we embraced technology," Reeve Lindbergh said of what a lesson from her dad could be for 2017. "I don't know what he'd do about things like cell phones and WiFi, but I think he'd have the same message: don't lose what you love even as you go forward with technology."

Marion Harlow, 97, of Springfield, witnessed Lindbergh's visit when she was just shy of her eighth birthday.

"In those days, an airport was really something," Harlow recalled. "In my mind, he was a celebrity because he was the first who ever flew an airplane very far."

Today, that concept may seem quaint, but it's part of Springfield's proud history, as it honored the day a hero came to town.

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