The folks over at Woodlawn Cemetery shared a bit of trivia connecting the Bronx to Friday’s ticker tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes for the World Cup champion United States Women’s soccer team. According to Brian G. Andersson, the cemetery’s community outreach director, the first woman honored with a ticker tape parade was native New Yorker and endurance swimmer Gertrude Ederele on August 27, 1926. Ms. Ederle is interred here in the Bronx at Woodlawn.
Ms. Ederle was honored for becoming the first woman to swim the English Channel. Swimming the English Channel was a big deal back then and still is today.
“Much is being made of the first women’s team to be feted in such a manner, but Gertrude Ederle was indeed the first woman to be honored with an individual recognition,” said Mr. Andersson.
Her accomplishment was an astounding feat, having broken the time record of the five men that had previously made the swim! According to the History.com, it was on her second attempt, that the 19-year-old Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim the 21 miles from Dover, England, to Cape Griz-Nez, France across the English Channel, which separates Great Britain from the northwestern tip of France. Unfortunately, Ederle damaged her hearing during the Channel swim, but went on to spend much of her adult life teaching deaf children in New York City to swim. She died in 2003 at the age of 98.