Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today we:
Explain a popular American song...
Tell about plans to re-create Charles Lindbergh’s famous flight ...
And learn about female spies throughout history.
A military women’s memorial near Washington, D.C., has a new show that honors female intelligence officers. The National Women’s History Museum organized the show called “Clandestine Women: The Untold Stories of Women in Espionage.” It demonstrates the bravery of women who served their country by spying. Bob Doughty tells us more.
Until recently, few people had heard of Virginia Hall. But this American woman made a difference in many lives. During World War Two, she helped rescue Allied servicemen trapped in areas occupied by Germany. Later she organized local resistance fighters into teams that captured hundreds of German prisoners.
Virginia Hall did all this although she had a wooden leg. Her own leg had been removed after a hunting accident.
Mizz Hall is one of a number of spies being honored at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The show tells spy stories from early American history to recent years.
African American singer Josephine Baker was another World War Two spy. She carried orders and maps from the French Resistance into countries occupied by Germany. The orders were written in disappearing ink on pages of her music.
Famous cooking expert Julia Child also helped in the World War Two effort. She helped solve a problem for the United States Navy. Sharks had been swimming into American bombs placed underwater. The bombs exploded before they could sink their targets – German U-boats. Julia Child created a substance that frightened sharks away from explosives.
Women also served as spies in America’s earlier history. General George Washington used information from a spy known only as “Three-Hundred-Fifty-Five.” The number meant “lady” in the secret language of American Revolutionary War spies. Harriet Tubman led hundreds of slaves to freedom in the middle Eighteen-Hundreds. After the Civil War began, this brave African American woman spied for the Union Army.
Visitors to the spy show can also see some of the tools the women used to spy. One is a small camera that was used to secretly photograph documents. Another is a cloth head covering that was printed with secret maps.
The grandson of world famous pilot Charles Lindbergh is planning to re-create his grandfather’s flight from New York City to Paris, France, seventy-five years ago. He is flying a plane he calls the New Spirit of Saint Louis. Mary Tillotson has more.
Thirty-six-year-old Erik Lindbergh plans to leave New York on May first. He expects to arrive in Paris after twenty hours in the air. His grandfather flew the same distance in about thirty-three hours.
Charles Lindbergh left New York City in his Spirit of Saint Louis plane on May twentieth, Nineteen-Twenty-Seven. He landed at Le Bourget Aerodrome on May twenty-first. He was the first person to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping. He became famous around the world.
Erik Lindbergh says he is making the same flight for several reasons. He wants to honor the work and the memory of his grandfather on the anniversary of his famous flight. He also wants to use the event to support the development of new treatments for the disease rheumatoid arthritis.
Erik Lindbergh suffered from the disease for fifteen years. He says he always dreamed of making a flight like his grandfather’s. But he was not sure he could do it because of his health. A new drug is responsible for his good health today.
Erik Lindbergh also is making the flight to support the X Prize Foundation. He is vice president of the foundation. It has offered ten-million dollars to the first private team to fly into space, return to Earth and do it again within two weeks. The competition is similar to that of the Orteig Prize won by Charles Lindbergh for making the flight from New York to Paris. The prize money was twenty-five-thousand dollars.
Erik Lindbergh’s flight will be different from his grandfather’s in several ways. His plane is a modern, single-engine plane. But his plane is smaller than the Spirit of Saint Louis. It has been changed to carry the extra fuel needed to reach France. He will have modern communications equipment to link the plane with a command center at the Saint Louis Science Center in Missouri. And the public will be able to follow his progress.
An American cable television network, The History Channel, is recording his adventure. It will broadcast a special program about it on May twentieth, the seventy-fifth anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight.
“City of New Orleans”
Our VOA listener question this week comes from China. Zheng Xiangyun wrote to ask about a song. The words say, “Good morning America, how are you? Don’t you know me, I’m your native son.”
The name of that song is “City of New Orleans.” The song is not about the famous city, but a train named after it. Many years ago, most of the major trains in the United States had names. They were famous to the people who rode them. The “City of New Orleans” is one of the last of these. The City of New Orleans still travels from the middle-western city of Chicago, Illinois, to the southern city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The train they call the City of New Orleans leaves Chicago, crosses the Ohio River at Cairo (KAY-roe) Illinois, and moves on to Memphis, Tennessee. It travels along the great Mississippi River and pulls into the Mississippi State capital in Jackson. It passes along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana and into New Orleans.
The song called “City of New Orleans” was written by Steve Goodman in Nineteen-Seventy. The words are really a little sad. When he wrote the song, the American railroad industry was disappearing. One part of the song says, “This train’s got the disappearing railroad blues.”
Several singers have recorded “City of New Orleans.” One of the most popular recordings is by Arlo Guthrie. So, here is Arlo Guthrie singing the Steve Goodman song, “City of New Orleans.” And thanks, Zheng Xiangyun -- we like the song too!
((CUT ONE: “CITY OF NEW ORLEANS“))
This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Nancy Steinbach, Paul Thompson and Jerilyn Watson. Our studio engineer was Al Alavi. And our producer was Paul Thompson.