Friday, April 02, 2010

Geronimo

After seeing this story about an Illinois man named Jeronymo who attempted suicide by jumping out of an 18th story apartment window, landing on the roof of a 4 story building next door and jumping from that building to the street.  He survived both jumps only to be pronounced dead at the hospital.  Since the story came out on April 1st, I assume it's made up. 

More importantly it got me wondering about the etymology of yelling the name Geronimo when jumping from a height.  According to Wikipedia:

The 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment's motto and slogan was named after him. In 1940, the night before their first mass jump, U.S. paratroopers at Fort Benning watched the 1939 film Geronimo, in which the actor playing Geronimo yells his name as he leaps from a high cliff into a river, depicting a real-life escape Geronimo successfully attempted in which he jumped off Medicine Bluff at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, into the Medicine Creek with his Cadillac horse. Private Aubrey Eberhardt announced he would shout the name when he jumped from the airplane to prove he was not scared. The trend has since caught on elsewhere, becoming widely associated with any sort of high jump in popular culture. This unit was the first parachute battalion of the United States Army.
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