History: First President to Fly

History: First President to Fly

Roosevelt Wasted No Time Being the First Prez to Fly
The very name of Theodore Roosevelt brings up an image of a man of limitless energy, always seeking new adventures. In 1910, he added another one to his list when he flew in an airplane.
Roosevelt started life as a sickly child, but he didn’t stay that way. He spent his youth training and exercising until his earlier frailty was just a memory. The one exception was his eyesight, but his eyeglasses never held him back.
Roosevelt eventually entered public life, culminating, of course, in the presidency. Although he eventually left office, he can hardly be said to have retired. Among other things, he went on a safari and took a ride in a submarine.
Roosevelt also stayed active in politics, campaigning for the Republican Party. That brought him to St. Louis, Missouri for a one-day visit on Tuesday, October 11th, 1910, to speak on behalf of the party at the local Coliseum. An international air meet had started the day before at the Kinloch Aviation Field, and Roosevelt was determined to see that first. As he expressed it, “We wanted to cram 48 hours of experiences into 24 hours.” He would arrive at the field by 3 p.m., and give his speech at [8:30].
Though Roosevelt had only left the White House the previous year, local newspapers called him “Colonel Roosevelt,” or the “Colonel,” referring to his service in the Spanish-American War. Nowadays, former presidents are still called “President.”
One of the aviators, Arch Hoxsey, who worked for the Wright brothers and was flying one of their biplanes, met Roosevelt on the field. Hoxsey was a great admirer of Roosevelt and was determined to give him a plane ride. Hoxsey later described their meeting in the Wednesday, October 12th issue of the St. Louis Republic.

Updated: October 8, 2018 — 2:21 PM

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