Phyllis at a book signing in Kitty Hawk.

Brian and I took the trip of a lifetime to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. While there we participated in many of the activities to celebrate one of the world’s most important achievements, the first powered flight. It seemed the eyes of the world were focused on this little town in the outer banks of North Carolina.


The purpose of this event was to remind the world what a magnificent achievement the First Flight was when Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their powered airplane off the rail on Kill Devil Hills and fly 852feet in 59 seconds.

The original site - Kitty Hawk Landing. Wright brothers came here in 1900.

We had become regular visitors to this area in the month of December for a number of years to research for the book, “Wilbur, Orville and Me: Magic at Kitty Hawk.” We were fortunate, indeed, to go there on this special day to take part in the celebration of this event that changed the world. Every day was crammed full of exciting activities. The youth were honored the first day in a program called: “Igniting the Imagination,” designed to inspire the next generation of aviators by engaging children of all ages in the power of flight.

New stainless, brass and copper sculpture placed on the south end of the Memorial site at KH. North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources provided $250,000 in public arts program funding for the sculpture, which was designed by North Carolina artist, Stephen Smith. The work of art features the Wright flyer, with Orville Wright on board, as it started to leave the ground; Wilbur Wright, running alongside the plane; and John Daniels, a helper and Outer Banks native who snapped a picture of the plane as it went aloft. Daniels’ photograph of the Dec. 17, 1903, first flight is considered one of the most famous in history.

The theme for Saturday and Sunday was “Remember the Past, Imagine the Future.” Monday was “Protecting the Home of the Brave,” celebrating the military. It was meant to honor all men and women of the military who served through the years. Tuesday was “In History’s footsteps, celebrating 100 Aviation Pioneers.” These people (many household names) were honored for their contribution to the aviation industry.

The trip was wonderful. Our B&B was next door to the spot where the Wrights came ashore in 1900, giving us the proud and nostalgic feeling that we had become a part of their past. One of the best parts of the trip was to visit the NASA and other exhibits, to see the National Wright Memorial and to see President Bush come flying in a military helicopter. As he came out of the door, a tremendous ovation greeted him.

Phyllis and the Brothers! Did she know them personally???

The weather was really bad, which prevented the replica built for this occasion, to successfully re-enact that cold morning 100 years ago, but everyone did get to see it get crank up and start its take-off roll. The failure of the craft to fly the same as the one did in 1903 was based on the condition of the ground and the wrong direction of the wind. No one could have changed those conditions. The spectators were thrilled to see it do this much and much appreciation and respect was evident for the efforts of the builders and the crew of this aircraft that will become a permanent part of the Ford Museum at Dearborn, MI.

We feel blessed that we could go there at this time. Another great blessing was that I had two venues to show and sign my book, which put it in the hands of many North Carolina school children. One hundred years ago, the Wright brothers were dedicated to the idea that man could fly. On December 17, 1903 they realized their vision and flew 59 seconds into the pages of history. We were happy to be there to see the celebration of this achievement; the trip of a lifetime, for the flight of a lifetime.




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