Aida Bonsonto has held onto her wedding gown for over 70 years. Though her husband, a World War II veteran, has been gone for 39 years, the dress holds a special place in her heart because of where it came from. She is now sharing it with the world by loaning it to the 82nd Airborne Museum at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Aida's husband Gerald Bonsonto fought in WWII and almost died during the Invasion of Normandy. She received a call from her future mother-in-law and learned that Gerald has narrowly survived a German sniper bullet as he parachuted over Sainte-Mère-Eglise. After recovering from his injuries, Gerald sent home his parachute (in two boxes) home to Aida.
While recovering in France, Gerald also commissioned a nightgown for his future bride out of parachute silk for the cost of two packs of cigarettes. Aida wore it on her wedding night.
Aida took the parachute parts she received in the mail to a local seamstress, an Italian immigrant, who was able to turn it into a wedding dress. A wedding parachute dress if you will. When Gerald came home, she wore her dress to walk down the aisle on her wedding day at Chicago's Holy Family Church.
"I couldn't control it because it was so light," she told Orlando Sentinel. "You could see it flying. It was an honor to have it and to wear it."
At the time, there were shortages of material so people needed to make dresses out of whatever materials they could find. Parachute wedding dresses were not uncommon as the light fabric of the nylon parachute actually worked well for the occasion. Talk about resourcefulness.
Gerald was a proud American, wearing his US Army boots until they wore out.
"I wanted to have them bronzed," (as was done for their son, Joe, after returning from serving in Vietnam), she told Orlando Sentinel. "But he insisted on wearing them every day, as a reminder of all he went through and why he went through it — for freedom."
The dress is on loan to the museum for a short time as Aida has a few great-granddaughters who would love to wear their family's legacy when their big days arrive.
Editor's Note: The photo of the dress is incredible, but we don't own the license to show it to you. Head on over to Military.com to see how light and delicate this gown is.
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