First Lady swings nine times – dents nose of one plane (5-31-45)

Youngstown Vindicator (May 31, 1945)

First Lady swings nine times – dents nose of one plane

WASHINGTON (AP) – Official forgetfulness plagued Mrs. Harry S. Truman’s initial public appearance as First Lady. But her troubles in christening two hospital planes Wednesday failed to disturb her.

In fact, she, too, began to laugh when nine valiant swings of a champagne bottle failed to do more than dent the aluminum nose of the Army ship at an Army-Navy ceremony.

A military aide did no better. He bounced the bottle against the plane four times. Mrs. Truman then moved to the Navy plane.

On her second try, the bottle splintered from the blow of an ax swung from below by a naval officer. Champagne splattered all over the First Lady’s black faille suit.

Undaunted, Mrs. Truman returned to the Army plane. Officers scurried for a fire ax too, but someone ordered the attempt abandoned.

Afterwards it was learned that no one had thought to tell Mrs. Truman to swing the bottles against the sharp-edged open wheel wells, nor had the thick bottles been properly “scored” to ensure breakage.

Crew members of the Army plane said they would fly their ship proudly with the dent made by Mrs. Truman’s repeated efforts to christen it U.S. Capitol.

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