Charles Lindbergh Quotes

Charles Augustus Lindbergh, 1902 – 1974

Born: 4 February 1902, Detroit, Michigan
Died: 26 August 1974, Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii

Lindbergh grew up on a Minnesota farm near Little Falls, he graduated from Little Falls High School but had attended more than a dozen other schools in California and the Washington City area. He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, but left to enter a flying school operated by the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation. He first flew in 1922, nine days after getting to flight school, went to work for a barnstormer performing as a wing walker, and bought his own first plane in 1923. He barnstormed himself, delivered the mail, and took a commission in the Reserves, which got him additional training. Like many others, including four who had died trying, he was challenged by the Orteig Prize: $25,000 to the first pilot to fly from Long Island, New York to Paris. He raised money from Saint Louis businesses and commissioned “The Spirit of Saint Louis” from the Ryan Airlines Company of San Diego. Before the flight, newspapers called him “the flying fool.” When he returned he was known as “Lucky Lindy” and the “Lone Eagle.” The flight had taken 33 and a half hours, his big problems were getting the plane, overloaded with fuel, off the ground and then staying awake through the night.

He married Anne Morrow, the first woman he ever dated, in 1929. Their first child, Charles Jr, was kidnaped in March of 1932 and later found dead. The kidnapping was widely called the “Crime of the Century” and led immediately to passage of the Lindbergh Law making kidnapping a federal offense in most cases. Public attention and fear for their subsequent children led the Lindbergh’s to more to Europe. After his sister-in-law died of a heart condition he worked with a French surgeon on techniques for heart surgery and developed a perfusion pump which made early heart surgeries possible. Visiting German aviation facilities on behalf of the American government he was taken in my Hermann Göring and gave the US information dramatically inflating Germany’s are power. He wrote to the British government warning them against taking military action against Hitler and advising them to strengthen their air defenses, he hoped to divert the Germans to the East. When Germany invaded Poland, Lindbergh resigned his commission in the US Army Air Corps to campaign for the America First Committee, during which he made a number of remarks that seem clearly anti-Semitic and racist. His involvement in the Pacific Theater was as a civilian consultant, Franklin Roosevelt, upset with his attacks on government policies vis-a-vis Germany, was unwilling to reinstate his commission. During and after the war Lindbergh was generally not well regarded by the public but his 1953 book The Spirit of St. Louis was a success, winning the 1954 Pulitzer Prize, and the improved atmosphere led to Dwight Eisenhower reinstating him in the Army Air Corps with the rank of Brigadier General. Despite his long marriage and five living children, from 1957 until his death he maintained covert relationships with three German women, fathering seven children. In the 1960 Lindbergh became a strong and outspoken environmentalist. His last years were spent on Maui, where he died of lymphoma.

Charles Lindbergh quotes:

Air power is new to all our countries. It brings advantages to some and weakens others; it calls for readjustment everywhere.
    Charles Lindbergh – “Aviation, Geography, and Race” Reader’s Digest (November 1939)

All mentally well-balanced persons know that we are not governed by the true principals of social justice when we make the main aim of our social existence the gaining of money.
    Charles Lindbergh

Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in a fog. But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed. What kind of man would live where there is no daring? And is life so dear that we should blame men for dying in adventure? Is there a better way to die?
    Charles Lindbergh – Journal entry (26 August 1938)

Aviation has struck a delicately balanced world, a world where stability was already giving way to the pressure of new dynamic forces, a world dominated by a mechanical, materialist, Western European civilization.
    Charles Lindbergh – “Aviation, Geography, and Race” Reader’s Digest (November 1939)

Aviation seems almost a gift from heaven to those Western nations who were already the leaders of their era, strengthening their leadership, their confidence, their dominance over other peoples.
    Charles Lindbergh – “Aviation, Geography, and Race” Reader’s Digest (November 1939)

Decades spent in contact with science and its vehicles have directed my mind and senses to areas beyond their reach. I now see scientific accomplishments as a path, not an end; a path leading to and disappearing in mystery.
    Charles Lindbergh – “A Letter from Lindbergh” Life magazine (4 July 1969)

How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and of oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life.
    Charles Lindbergh – “Aviation, Geography, and Race” Reader’s Digest (November 1939)

I believe that for permanent survival, man must balance science with other qualities of life, qualities of body and spirit as well as those of mind – qualities he cannot develop when he lets mechanics and luxury insulate him too greatly from the earth to which he was born.
    Charles Lindbergh

I have seen the science I worshiped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve.
    Charles Lindbergh – Of Flight and Life (1948)

I owned the world that hour as I rode over it. free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.
    Charles Lindbergh

I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
    Charles Lindbergh – “Is Civilization Progress?” in Reader’s Digest (July 1964)

I saw a fleet of fishing boats…. I flew down almost touching the craft and yelled at them, asking if I was on the right road to Ireland.
    Charles Lindbergh

If I were entering adulthood now instead of in the environment of fifty years ago, I would choose a career that kept me in touch with nature more than science.
    Charles Lindbergh

If one took no chances, one would not fly at all. Safety lies in the judgment of the chances one takes.
    Charles Lindbergh – Journal entry (26 August 1938)

If we can combine our knowledge of science with the wisdom of wildness, if we can nurture civilization through roots in the primitive, man’s potentialities appear to be unbounded.
    Charles Lindbergh – “A Letter from Lindbergh” Life magazine (4 July 1969)

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
    Charles Lindbergh – “The Wisdom of Wilderness” LIFE magazine (22 December 1967)

Is he alone who has courage on his right hand and faith on his left hand?
    Charles Lindbergh

Isn’t it strange that we talk least about the things we think about most?
    Charles Lindbergh

It is not the willingness to kill on the part of our soldiers which most concerns me. That is an inherent part of war. It is our lack of respect for even the admirable characteristics of our enemy; for courage, for suffering, for death, for his willingness to die for his beliefs, for his companies and squadrons which go forth, one after another, to annihilation against our superior training and equipment.
    Charles Lindbergh – Journal entry (21 July 1944)

It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane.
    Charles Lindbergh

It may be interesting to note how many statesmen there are who believe that the cost of living can be reduced by making the people of other countries help to feed and clothe us.
    Charles Lindbergh

Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.
    Charles Lindbergh

Life [is] a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.
    Charles Lindbergh – “Is Civilization Progress?” in Reader’s Digest (July 1964)

Living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquests.
    Charles Lindbergh

Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values… God made life simple. It is man who complicates it.
    Charles Lindbergh

No right of preference exists in favor of person, property, or business. Personal claims and ambitions must yield in favor of whatever best serves the general welfare.
    Charles Lindbergh

Now, all that I feared would happen has happened. We are at war all over the world, and we are unprepared for it from either a spiritual or a material standpoint.
    Charles Lindbergh – Journal entry (11 December 1941)

Our civilization depends on peace among Western nations, and therefore on united strength, for Peace is a virgin who dare not show her face without Strength, her father, for protection.
    Charles Lindbergh – “Aviation, Geography, and Race” Reader’s Digest (November 1939)

Our ideals, laws and customs should be based on the proposition that each generation, in turn, becomes the custodian rather than the absolute owner of our resources and each generation has the obligation to pass this inheritance on to the future.
    Charles Lindbergh – New York Times Magazine (23 May 1971)

Our survival, the future of our civilization, possibly the existence of mankind, depends on American leadership
    Charles Lindbergh

Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.
    Charles Lindbergh

Shall we now give up the independence we have won, and crusade abroad in a utopian attempt to force our ideas on the rest of the world; or shall we use air power, and the other advances of modern warfare, to guard and strengthen the independence of our nation?
    Charles Lindbergh – “Air Power” speech (29 August 1941)

The forces of Hannibal, Drake and Napoleon moved at best with the horses’ gallop or the speed of wind on sail. Now, aviation brings a new concept of time and distance to the affairs of men. It demands adaptability to change, places a premium on quickness of thought and speed of action.
    Charles Lindbergh – “Aviation, Geography, and Race” Reader’s Digest (November 1939)

The improvement of our way of life is more important than the spreading of it. If we make it satisfactory enough, it will spread automatically. If we do not, no strength of arms can permanently impose it.
    Charles Lindbergh

The readiness to blame a dead pilot for an accident is nauseating, but it has been the tendency ever since I can remember. What pilot has not been in positions where he was in danger and where perfect judgment would have advised against going?
    Charles Lindbergh – Journal entry (26 August 1938)

The remedy for our social evils does not consist so much in changing the system of government as it does in increasing the general intelligence of the people so that they may learn how to govern.
    Charles Lindbergh

This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected – in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life.
    Charles Lindbergh

To a person in love, the value of the individual is intuitively known. Love needs no logic for its mission.
    Charles Lindbergh

To be a true Progressive it is not sufficient to stand up and say that one belives in what has been promulgated as progressive principles. One must be progressive in heart and active in promoting the progressive principles of today, tomorrow and always. There is no resting point, for humanity is ever ascending to a higher and better goal.
    Charles Lindbergh

Unless science is controlled by a greater moral force, it will become the Antichrist prophesied by the early Christians.
    Charles Lindbergh

We are all consumers and should all be producers.
    Charles Lindbergh

We are in the grip of a scientific materialism, caught in a vicious cycle where our security today seems to depend on regimentation and weapons which will ruin us tomorrow.
    Charles Lindbergh

We can so reconstruct society that it will be self-perpetuating instead of as now, self-exhaustive.
    Charles Lindbergh

What kind of man would live where there is no danger? I don’t believe in taking foolish chances. But nothing can be accomplished by not taking a chance at all.
    Charles Lindbergh

Whether outwardly or inwardly, whether in space or time, the farther we penetrate the unknown, the vaster and more marvelous it becomes.
    Charles Lindbergh – Autobiography of Values

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