Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, NC

The Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC was established by the National Park Service to commemorate the location of the first successful powered air flights, as well as other accomplishments by the Wright Brothers.  Others before them had attempted to fly, but without success.  The Wright brothers were from Dayton, OH, but that area was not suitable for experimenting with flight, so they came to Kitty Hawk, NC and started experimenting with glider flights.  Though their initial glides were largely successful, they found their craft difficult to maneuver, so they went back to Dayton to do some further work.  When they returned to Kitty Hawk, they made four successful flights on December 17, 1903, the longest of which was the last one of the day by Wilbur.  It covered 852 feet.  The monument was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of that historic flight.

The park has a beautiful, modern visitor center, which includes a timeline history of the Wright brothers’ achievements and life-size models of their glider and their first engine-powered craft.  On the extensive grounds there are stones marking the locations of the flight distances, plus their camp buildings, and a monument atop a high (now stabilized) dune.  There is also a centennial building, but that was closed on the day of our visit due to recent flooding.  Beyond the dune with the memorial there is an area with a sculpture of the first airplane, along with all the characters who where present at the first flight.

In the room of the visitor center where you find the replicas of the aircraft, there is a wall of fame with photos of the major pioneering aviators, which includes information on their achievements.  Looking at those photos brought us to the realization that it was only 66 years after the initial powered air flight to the time man landed on the moon.  The Wright brothers’ achievement was monumental, and they were the catalyst for an amazing chain of events that culminated in the moon landing.  It is difficult not to be awestruck when contemplating this.  

If you are looking for inspiration in your life, the Wright Brothers National Memorial is a wonderful place to find some.  The monument is a great testament to the achievements of modern mankind.

There are more photos from our visit in the album.

Original post July 13, 2012

© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com