January 30 – FDR’s Birthday

20042-fdr-birthday-1943

(Returning from the Casablanca Conference during a flight from Trinidad to Miami, President Roosevelt celebrates his 61st birthday. Seated (L to R): Guy Spaman, secret service; Admiral William D. Leahy, FDR’s chief of staff; Lt. Cone, captain of the plane; and FDR. Standing (L to R): Charles Fredericks, secret service, Capt. John L. McCrea, presidential naval aide; Elmer Hipsley, secret service; Lt. George Fox, naval medical corps; Rear Admiral Ross T. McIntire, surgeon general of the navy)

On January 30, 1943 on the return trip from the Casablanca Conference, President Roosevelt celebrated his 61st birthday in an unusual venue, aboard a Pan Am Clipper flying from Trinidad to Miami. The event was organized on the initiative of John McCrea during the journey to Casablanca. There were champagne toasts, a birthday cake, and the president received a gift, a book of prints showing scenes of Trinidad, where the presidential party had had overnight layovers on the way to and from North Africa. It was the first time—and possibly the last—that a president of the United States had celebrated his birthday in the skies.

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