Sunday, May 1, 2016

May 1, 1970 -- Apollo 13 Astronauts Receive City Welcome

May 1, 1970 -- Chicago rolls out the red carpet for the astronauts of Apollo 13, and a half-million people come to cheer James A. Lovell, Jr. and John L. Swigert, despite 25 m.p.h. winds that gust to 47 m.p.h. Astronaut Fred W. Haise, Jr. is unable to attend because of a kidney ailment. The celebration starts at Michigan and Ohio where the parade kicks off. At the Michigan Avenue bridge a Chicago fire boat sends up sprays of water and fireworks are set off. There is a half-hour ceremony at the Daley Center at which Governor Ogilvie, Senator Charles Percy, and Senator Ralph Tyler Smith speak. Following the public reception, an official luncheon is held at the Palmer House, attended by 800 city officials. From there Lovell and Swigert report to Orchestra Hall for a question and answer session with 2,500 high school students. As they leave for O'Hare, Lovell observes, "Chicago has always been a very friendly, warm, open city, and the welcome we received today was typical. Today really typified Chicago -- a big, friendly, windy city."

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