On This Day
1784 – Élisabeth Thible becomes the first woman to fly in an untethered hot air balloon. Her flight covers four kilometres in 45 minutes, and reached 1,500 metres altitude (estimated).
Élisabeth Thible, or Elizabeth Tible, born in Lyon was the first woman on record to fly in an untethered hot air balloon. On June 4, 1784, eight months after the first manned balloon flight, Thible flew with Mr. Fleurant on board a hot air balloon christened La Gustave in honour of King Gustav III of Sweden’s visit to Lyon.
Monsieur Fleurant originally planned to fly the balloon with Count Jean-Baptiste de Laurencin, but the count gave his position on The Gustave to Élisabeth Thible.[Note 1]
When the balloon left the ground Thible, dressed as the Roman goddess Minerva, and Fleurant sang two duets from Monsigny’s La Belle Arsène, a celebrated opera of the time. The flight lasted 45 minutes, covered four kilometres and achieved an estimated height of 1,500 meters. It was witnessed by King Gustav III of Sweden in whose honour the balloon was named. During the bumpy landing Thible turned an ankle as the basket hit the ground. She was credited by Fleurent with the success of the flight both because she fed the balloon’s fire box en route and by exhibiting her remarkable courage.
Little is known of Madame Thible, she is described as the abandoned spouse (épouse délaissée) of a Lyon merchant. No record of her survives as a professional opera singer.
Venus im Wolkenschiff (Venus in the Cloud-ship) – WDR-TV movie by A. Reeker with Anouk Plany as Élisabeth Thible
Born On This Day
1866 – Miina Sillanpää, Finnish journalist and politician (d. 1952)
Miina Sillanpää (originally Vilhelmiina Riktig, 4 June 1866 in Jokioinen – 3 April 1952 in Helsinki) was Finland’s first female minister and a key figure in the workers’ movement. In 2016, the Finnish government made 1 October an official flag day in honour of Sillanpää. She was involved in the preparation of Finland’s first Municipal Homemaking Act.
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On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 American, British and Canadian troops landed on the shores of northern France as part of D-Day, a major turning point in World War II that helped lead to the defeat of Nazi forces in Europe. About 2,500 of the 73,000 U.S. soldiers who fought in the battle died.
As a 23-year-old army medic, Ray Lambert saved numerous lives in Normandy, despite being wounded himself. Now 98, he recently co-wrote a book called “Every Man a Hero,” and he’s one of 53 D-Day veterans who will return to Normandy this week.
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Why you should care
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade volunteers weren’t awarded the same reverence as other soldiers.
In recent years, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade has undergone something of a rehabilitation. “When talking about fascism as a threat to democracy,” explains Carroll, “the Lincoln Brigade epitomizes what could have been done to prevent fascism.” When Berg died in 2016, Sen. John McCain penned an op-ed in The New York Times thanking the brigade members for their service. While McCain denounced their socialist cause, he also noted: “You might consider them romantics, fighting in a doomed cause for something greater than their self-interest.”
The Lincoln Battalion was the 17th (later the 58th) battalion of the XV International Brigade, a mixed brigade of the International Brigades also known as Abraham Lincoln Brigade (Spanish: Brigada Abraham Lincoln). It was formed by a group of volunteers from the United States who served in the Spanish Civil War as soldiers, technicians, medical personnel and aviators fighting for Spanish Republican forces against the forces of General Francisco Franco and his Nationalist faction. The Lincoln Brigade was the first American military force to include blacks and whites integrated on an equal basis.
Of the approximately 3,015 American volunteers, 681 were killed in action or died of wounds or sickness.
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