May is chock full of special and historical events. Particularly here in Indianapolis, where every Memorial Day the race cars fire up their engines and compete in the Indianapolis 500.
But I don’t want to look forward today, I want to glimpse back in time.
The year was 1937. Crowds gathered in Lakehurst Borough, New Jersey, to welcome the arrival of family and friends. Those people had taken a three day journey across the Atlantic Ocean traversing that great, blue expanse from their point of origin in Frankfurt, Germany.
Thunderstorms delayed their journey to New Jersey, so the captain of their ship routed past Manhattan Island and down the coast of New Jersey as he waited for the weather to clear at his destination. That evening, around 6:22 p.m., Captain Max Pruss received word that the storms had cleared the dock and it was safe to bring his vessel to the dock. The journey neared its end shortly after 7 p.m. as it reached the dock.
Now, most of us don’t know about this part of the story, for it is what happened next that is ingrained on the pages of history.
At 7:25 p.m., Captain Pruss maneuvered the LZ 129 Hindenburg near the mooring mast when the zeppelin burst into flames and crashed. Thirteen passengers, twenty-two aircrewmen This instant was capture simultaneously by photographer Sam Shere and radio reporter Herbert Morrison, thus making the Hindenburg crash one of the first large-scale tragedies captured moment-by-moment by news media. To this day, Morrison’s report—which you can listen to here—remains one of the most widely-recognized broadcasts from that era.