Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com

January 23
Wrong Way Corrigan

Douglas Groce Corrigan was born in Galveston, Texas, January 22, 1907. In 1925, he was living in Los Angeles when he paid $2.50 for a ten-minute sightseeing flight that completely changed his life. From the moment he was airborne, Corrigan was hooked on flying.

By the next year, working for the men in whose plane he had initially flown, he made his first solo flight, getting his pilot's license in 1930. In 1933, he bought a plane, an OX5 Robin, for $325 and spent the next three years working as an airplane mechanic here and there, primarily to outfit his plane for his dream flight: a solo crossing of the Atlantic.

Lindbergh had already accomplished this feat; it was not the glory of being first that motivated Corrigan. His was a simple personal goal; Lindbergh was his hero and he wanted to follow in his hero's...well, not footsteps at that altitude--maybe wake. He certainly was unprepared for what happened.

First, like Lindbergh, Corrigan flew from San Diego to St. Louis to New York. In New York, he was told he could not get permission to cross the Atlantic since his plane lacked a radio or any navigational equipment except a compass. Bent, but not broken, Corrigan returned to San Diego and went back to work.

Corrigan's third cross-country flight, and first non-stop, ended in New York on July 9, 1938. On the 17th, he filed a flight plan to return to Los Angeles, climbed into his plane, took off heading west and 26 hours later landed at Baldonnel Field near Dublin, Ireland. He claimed he was confused, his compass broken, and said he must have gone the wrong way. The world responded.

In Ireland, he was given a hero-and-fellow-Irishman's welcome and met the Irish prime minister. In London, he met Joseph P. Kennedy, then the U.S. Ambassador to England, and upon his return to the United States (via boat), was given a tickertape parade. Over a million people turned out to see him. It was more of a crowd than had greeted Lindbergh 12 years earlier.

Corrigan died on December 9, 1995, at 88. To most people, his name is synonymous with football players who score goals for the opposition, but to the Saint Report he is a beacon shining above obstacles to the realization of dreams.

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Saints celebrating feast days today include Ildephonsus, Raymond of Penafort, Emerentiana, and John the Almsgiver.

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Birthdays: Jeanne Moreau (1928, Paris, France), and Chita Rivera (1933, Washington, D.C.).

There aren't any good events to write about, either, unless you think that it is noteworthy that the first "Donny and Marie Show" premiered on this day in 1976.

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© Marilyn Jones 2002-2008