What do the Wright Brothers and hospitality have in common? You’re about to find out.
LDB, Tex (my blonde canine) and I spent a gorgeous Columbus Day weekend on remote Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. From this out-of-the-way destination on our return trip home, we passed by the Wright Brothers’ National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. After the briefest of discussions, we agreed, we’d better stop and check it out. Who knows when we’ll have the time and opportunity again? So we made a u-turn into American and aviation history.
The memorial pays tribute to the brothers’ 12-seconds of history that changed the world. I was expecting an indoor museum, perhaps with a replica of the first flyer, but this side trip had much more in store for sharing and celebrating the Wrights’ creativity, determination and daring.
The aerial view above shows the museum (which does house a replica) on the right. In the middle of the field are reproductions of the hangar for the plane (left building) and camp shelter for the brothers on the right. Numbered 1 to 4 are the landing markers
for each of their four flights. The large boulder above marks
the lift-off point for each flight.
Notables in the rest of the park include the first flight sculpture seen below
and a soaring monument
atop a large mound overlooking the entire park.
I certainly did not expect to find a lesson in city marketing and hospitality amongst the lessons in flight mechanics. In a letter from William J. Tate, Postmaster of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Tate sent an appeal to the brothers to locate their test camp at Kitty Hawk, stating
If you decide to try your machine here…you will find a hospitable people…
No doubt the positive welcome that the Wright Brothers received aided and abetted their remarkable success which changed the course of mankind. The legacy of hospitality the Wright Brothers enjoyed in remote North Carolina has endured for more than a century and made Kitty Hawk’s name stand synonymous with aviation history.
The Richmond area has extended a similar invitation to the international bicycling racing world for next September’s UCI Road Championships. It marks the first time in almost 30 years that this competition will be held in the United States. With RVA’s warm southern hospitality, we expect our own hospitable people to help Richmond leave a similar mark in the annals of international bicycle racing.
October 27, 2014