One of the museums Alan and I toured in Washington D.C. was the National Museum of American History, which has a costume collection containing over 30,000 garments and accessories modeling the changing fashion trends in America from the 17oo’s to the present. Tucked away in this massive collection is a gorgeous wedding dress with a story so romantic I want to share it with you. In August of 1944 during World War 2, a young B-29 pilot, Maj. Claude Hensinger, was returning from a bombing raid over Yowata, Japan one night when his plane caught fire and he was forced to bail out. After surviving with only minor injuries, Hensinger saved his parachute, using it as a blanket and pillow, and later he gave it to his girlfriend, Ruth, when he proposed marriage, suggesting that she use the parachute that had saved his life to make a wedding dress. Ruth wasn’t sure how to make the billowing parachute into a dress, but she saw a beautiful gown in a shop window that had been patterned after a dress in Gone With the Wind, and with the help of a local seamstress, they fashioned this dress. Ruth and Claude were married on July 19, 1947 at a Lutheran church in Pennsylvania, and a generation later both their daughter and their son’s bride wore the dress in their weddings. Isn’t that precious?
This story reminds me of another wedding dress that has come down from above: Jesus came down from heaven (John 6:33), offers to be our spiritual bridegroom (John 3:28-30), and clothes us with his righteousness. It is He about whom Isaiah wrote:
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).
(Credit: The dress and story are gifts of Claude E. and Ruth L. Hensinger to the National Museum of American History. I also found pictures and information on line but not contact information. If for any reason you read this and disapprove of my sharing your story, please let me know and I will remove it. Thank you.)