For Christmas, my wife got me the book, Stuff Every American Should Know, by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese, published by Quirk Books in 2012. One chapter explains why we all yell "Geronimo!" when we jump from even the smallest height.
Geronimo, whose real name was Goyathaly, which ironically means "one who yawns" in his Native American language, was a fearless warrior who fought in the Apache Wars from 1849 to 1886 in the southwestern region of the continental United States.
Goyathaly got the nickname Geronimo from Mexican adversaries who cried out to patron saint, St. Jerome, for mercy while being attacked.
A 1939 movie of Geronimo's life story was shown to American paratroopers at Fort Benning, Georgia, to inspire them to be fearless like Geronimo. Parachute jumping was a recent addition to the military and was still unproven, so jumpers had some trepidation. After seeing the movie, private Aubrey Eberhardt screamed "Geronimo!" as he jumped from the plane as part of a training exercise. His buddies did the same, and the rallying cry eventually spread throughout the military.
Though stories of Native Americans are often filled with sadness, Goyathaly was indeed a brave warrior.
This book (available on Amazon) has some fascinating tidbits that I will share in some upcoming blog posts. I recommend it.
Native American history is alive in the lab.