One woman named Ruth was faced with a challenge when her husband-to-be gave
her the material he wanted her wedding dress to be made out of, his old
parachute. There’s more to the story than that, as the parachute was a very
important part of the man’s life. Safe to say, she delivered and managed to impress a good number of people
even almost a century later.
Major Claude Hensinger, a B-29 pilot, and his crew, were returning from a bombing raid over Yowata, Japan, in August 1944 when their engine caught fire. The crew was forced to bail out and had to jump out of the plane.
Fortunately, the parachute got Hensinger safely to the ground in China, and
it also kept him warm and reduced the bleeding from the injuries he had sustained
after landing on sharp rocks according to
We Are The Mighty.
Hensinger continued to hold on to the parachute even after the war. When he finally got back home to Pennsylvania, he proposed to his girlfriend, Ruth, not with a ring, but with the parachute in hand explaining how his lucky parachute had saved his life and just how much it meant to him.
According to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, he told her, “This is the
parachute that saved my life. I want you to make a wedding gown out of it.”
Ruth said yes and soon started sourcing for ideas on how she could possibly get a wedding dress from the nylon material. The bride to be decided to have her wedding dress with inspiration from Scarlett O’Hara’ s in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind and added a veil and bodice to match.
Reportedly, Hensinger loved seeing his bride walk down the aisle in the
beautiful dress she created from his parachute and so did many others seeing as
the dress was worn by two other generations of women when they got married in
the years that followed.
The couple was married for 49 years before Hensinger died in 1996. The dress is now on display at the Smithsonian’s
National Museum of American History where it still continues to impress many.