This Wedding Dress Was Made From The Parachute That Saved The Groom's Life In WWII

October 8, 2019

"This is the parachute that saved my life," Claude Hensinger said to his soon-to-be wife. "I want you to make a wedding gown out of it."

So, she did.

wedding dress parachute
Credit: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Major Claude Hensinger was an American pilot during World War II. In 1944, his engine caught fire over Yowata, Japan, and he had no other choice but to evacuate the plane with his parachute.

Thankfully, he only suffered minor injuries after landing on some rocks.

That night, he kept himself warm with his parachute. The following day, he was brought to safety and was able to return home to the United States.


After he returned home, he met Ruth. The couple dated for about a year before he asked her to marry him.

wedding dress parachute
Major Claude Hensinger and Ruth on their wedding day

When Hensinger asked Ruth to make the dress from his parachute she was excited. But she thought to herself "How am I going to make a gown out of 16 gores of nylon and all that bias?"

Ruth had emulated the pattern from a dress she fell absolutely in love with displayed in a window that looked identical to Scarlet O'Hara's in Gone With the Wind.

On July 19, 1947, Ruth and Major Claude Hensinger were married.

The dress is now on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Sources: Smithsonian, Ripley's

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