Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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1950: Man’s Life Saved by Flagpole

On Sunday, July 2, 1950, the city of Springfield, Massachusetts was celebrating the Independence Day, July 4th holiday with Amvets (American Veterans) parade down Main Street.

46-year-old Henry L. Lefeave, who lived nearby at 36 Willow Street, believed that he had secured the perfect spot to view the parade. He had been watching from a third-floor window when he suddenly leaned a bit too far over the sill and lost his balance.  

Unfortunately, Lefeave had left his Superman cape at home, which greatly reduced his ability to fly. And gravity never fails.

As Lefeave was falling, he was able to grab onto a flagpole that jutted out from that third-floor window. But, Lefeave was too heavy for the flagpole and it began to bend, causing him to lose his grip. 

Just at that moment, he was able to take hold of a sign bracket that jutted out from the front of the hotel. He soon lost his grip and fell an estimated 10 feet (3 m). Somehow, he was able to grab hold of the chain that was supporting the lower end of the sign.

The parade came to a sudden halt as soon as the marchers and spectators realized what was happening. With Lefeave hanging on for dear life, rescuers ran up to the second floor of the hotel and pulled him in through a window.

Lefeave was rushed to the hospital suffering from both head and back injuries.  But, he was incredibly lucky to be alive.

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