December 17, 2007, - 12:11 pm

Anniversary: Wright Brothers & Other Reasons America’s Great

By Debbie Schlussel
One of the great things about America is the genius and entrepreneurial spirit of so many of its citizens. Two of those, Orville and Wilbur Wright, took the first flight 104 years ago, today, at 10:35 a.m.
At the time, flying was a fantasy. But they willed it, and they achieved it:

Most of history’s great breakthroughs were made on days long forgotten.
But there is something about the image of Orville and Wilbur Wright on the windswept sands of Kitty Hawk, coaxing an awkward mechanical bird off the sand – and, with the shortest of flights, allowing humans the hope that they would not be forever confined to the ground.

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It was 104 years ago today that the Wright Brothers achieved the world’s first powered flight of a heavier-than-air craft, and the anniversary will not be ignored.
Today, officials with the Wright Brothers National Memorial expect 500 to 1,000 people to gather to remember an achievement that was at once humble and world-changing. They will listen to patriotic music and speeches. Advertisement
At 10:35 a.m., the exact moment that the Wright Brothers’ glider lifted from the ground, a dozen military aircraft will soar overhead.
They hold a similar celebration each year to commemorate the first flight.
“The invention of the airplane is probably the greatest technological achievement of the 20th century,” said Darrell Collins, historian for the memorial. “It has touched and shaped the way all of us live today.”
But Collins acknowledges that it’s probably not just the import of their achievement that keeps people coming back to the Outer Banks every December. After all, the invention of the automobile and the telephone, the discovery of penicillin, also shaped modern life.
Collins said it is the story of two brothers, working together with few resources but their own hope and determination, quietly transforming fantasy into reality, that draws people to the memorial.
“In less than a minute,” he said, “they changed the world.”
Historians say the Wright Brothers, although born four years apart, had the emotional and intellectual bond of twins. They owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. They lacked college degrees, but shared a restless, vigorous intellect and became self-taught aeronautical engineers before there was such a profession. Wilbur was the visionary. Orville was the tinkerer and inventor.
Historians note the disputed claims of earlier flights but credit the Wrights with the first sustained powered flight by a heavier-than-air craft.

Americans have dreamed up and invented so many innovations that have changed lives around the world for the better. You don’t see any such developments coming out of the Islamic Greater Barbaria that is the Middle East. (Only that wonderful island amidst it, Israel, shares such a track record and its history is far shorter than ours.)
And despite America’s decline in so many ways–culturally, educationally, in the sciences, etc.–we are still inventing.
Today, for example, snowstorms are dealt with easier with . . . beet juice?!
These creations and innovations will continue . . . so long as we enjoy freedom and free markets.

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9 Responses

[You don't see any such developments coming out of the Islamic Greater Barbaria that is the Middle East. (Only that wonderful island amidst it, Israel, shares such a track record and its history is far shorter than ours.)]
Ah, leave it to Debbie to turn the anniversary of an American triumph into a bigoted attack against the Arab world.

Norman Blitzer on December 17, 2007 at 3:00 pm

Well when your stuck in the third century AD, it is a statement of fact not bigotry.

Ford Jones on December 17, 2007 at 3:17 pm

“Well when your stuck in the third century AD, it is a statement of fact not bigotry”
Fact is fact… If you ever make it to Saudi, you’ll see extraordinary buildings and architecture. All these wonders were created by Germans, Americans, Etc. The Islamos outsource everything because they’re still stuck in the year 200BC.
Other than oil, what have the islamists created (other than hate & carpets)? How many Isomobiles are we driving? How many Islamoplanes are we flying how many islomo-pods are we listening to? If it were not for oil, they would all still be humping it on camels and eating sand.
In a very small way I am glad the granola kooks are making us hoard our oil. The day they run out – we’ll be drilling for them @ 300.00 a barrel.
I am of arab descent, and I thank GOD & Jesus Christ everyday (because I still can in the USA) for the blessings a true democracy has given us. We have ALL been blessed with our fore fathers of the USA and the Wright Brothers are a prime example of what being an AMERICAN is all about. We celebrate the Wright Brothers because they are the example (not the exception) to AMERICAN ingenuity.

RC Flyer on December 17, 2007 at 4:14 pm

All I can say to that is Amen.

Ford Jones on December 17, 2007 at 4:41 pm

Islamic Arabs are consumers, not producersÖ cultural barriers to productive innovation I suppose.
Canadians thank the Wright Brothers not only for the invention of the airplane BUT ALSO for training WW I Canadian ace, Arthur Roy Brown at their Wright Brothers Flight School in Dayton, Ohio in 1915.
Roy who flew with the Royal Naval Air Force (Canada didnít have an air force until 1924) was credited with killing the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen. While the ìfull killî credit seems unlikely now, Roy certainly participated in the ìkillî of the Baron.

The Canadien on December 17, 2007 at 5:22 pm

Let’s all settle down now and give Islam and company a little credit. There is of course the hour glass and let’s not forget the deluxe one size fits all camel saddle/sun sheild. Bet you would like one of those huh?? Dream on.

JoeBoy on December 17, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Let’s keep in mind that the Wright brothers did NOT invent the airplane. They solved and controlled the problem of roll(wing warping). Being a employee of Greenfield Village I am distressed that DS’s site is the only media play on this historic date and achievement. I would be willing to guess this being Mans Greatest Achievment wasn’t mentioned, even in passing,in any schoolin this country.

gjt300 on December 17, 2007 at 9:20 pm

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS did invent the airplane, not another glider, kite, or hopper etc.
When I think of an airplane, I think of a powered, controllable and sustainable flight of a manned flying machine, controlled by the occupant when the craft is still airborne.
Other inventors had ìpiecesî of the invention but only the Wright Brothers Flyer I was a complete flying machine that not only was powered, but also incorporated onboard controls for roll, pitch and yaw of the aircraft.
EVERY AIRCRAFT since incorporates the basic tenets of the 1903 Wright Flyer I design. The Wright Brothers glider of 1902 only lacked power.

The Canadien on December 18, 2007 at 12:02 am

Thank you for being the only media person to remember how important this is.
I never met my maternal grandfather but treasure the photos of him when he worked for these two men.
BTW the Islamics didn’t need airplanes. They had the Flying horse of Mo.

Aunt Bea on December 18, 2007 at 11:17 am

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