The First Parade: The Statue of Liberty Dedication
The first-ever ticker-tape parade was completely unplanned. On October 29, 1886, a parade was held to honor the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Office workers who were unable to get away to enjoy the parade celebrated by opening their windows and sprinkling the parade with ticker tape. What is ticker tape, you ask? It was the paper that came out of ticker tape machines, machines used to update the stock prices via telegraph. The "ticker" comes from the distinctive ticking noise the machines made when they were printing. These days, the "ticker tape" thrown from office buildings is generally materials that have gone through the office paper shredder; the city also distributes confetti.
Teddy Roosevelt Returns Home
In March 1909, after his second term as President ended, Teddy Roosevelt took off for an extended vacation – a safari in Africa. Teddy and his posse hunted specimens for the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History. They killed or trapped approximately 11,397 creatures – from the tiny (insects) to the enormous (hippos and elephants). When he triumphantly returned to his hometown in 1910, the city responded by throwing him the third-ever ticker-tape parade on June 18.
Charles Lindbergh Completes First Solo-Transatlantic Flight
Do you ever wish you were around for one of the great moments in history that changed everything? This was surely one of them. After six people had already died attempting the Transatlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh finally did it (there was a $25,000 prize, so he had some pretty decent motivation). When he landed in Paris, 150,000 people were waiting to greet the unknown Air Mail pilot. He returned home on June 11 and was rewarded with a ticker-tape parade on June 13. Four million people showed up to fete him.
Amelia Earhart Gets Ticker Tape Parade #2
In 1932, Amelia Earhart (Putnam) received her second ticker tape parade, but this time it was all hers. The first one was shared with pilot Wilmer Stultz and co-pilot Louis Gordon. Amelia kept the flight log. In 1932, she became the first woman to fly the across the Atlantic solo.
Jesse Owens Makes Hitler Mad
After the 1936 Olympics when the Buckeye Bullet infuriated Hitler by winning four track and field medals for the U.S., he returned home to the now-famous ticker-tape parade. After a parade held in his honor, Jesse had to ride the fright elevator to attend a reception in his honor at the Waldorf-Astoria because segregation was obviously in full effect. Sad.
John Glenn's Record-Setting Parade
In 1962, John Glenn's parade after he returned home from orbiting the Earth in Friendship 7. This is notable because it set the record for most ticker-tape material ever used - 3,474 tons.
After the 40s, ticker-tape parades became really common. People figured out that the parades were great publicity, and soon all kinds of people got ticker-tape parades - Presidential candidates, pretty much any visiting dignitary, and even the winner of the Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition.
Then, in 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. World leaders became more reluctant to ride in uncovered cars along parade routes. The ticker-tape parades started to become a lot less common. Compare the nine parades in 1962 to the two parades in 1964 and you see what I mean. There were only three parades in the '70s and four in the '80s. There were eight in the '90s, but four of those were athletic teams that won titles (The Yankees in '96, '98 and '99; the NHL's Rangers in '94). So far there have only been two this decade - both for title winners.
So, what will be the next one? And who has been to a ticker-tape parade? Have you thrown stuff out of windows? Share your experiences in the comments.
Yup, that fellow behind Owens is throwing out a Nazi salute. The irony of that day must have been palpable.