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First Flight sculpture near the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, near Kitty Hawk, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina
by Stephen H Smith

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With the Wright Brothers National Memorial in the background atop Kill Devil Hill.

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0005000/05381_0010038469 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038429 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038439 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038449 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038459 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038479 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038499 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038509 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038519 (added ca. 11/17/2007)



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0005000/05381_0010038529 (added ca. 11/17/2007)


12 seconds that changed the world

After more than 4 years of hard work & experimentation, it only took the Wright brothers 12 seconds to change the world. On 12/17/1903, at 10:35 am, Orville Wright made the world's 1st controlled, powered, heavier-than-air flight
The photograph that documented the Wrights' success was taken by John T Daniels, a Kill Devil Hills LIfe Saving Station surfman, who had never used a camera before. It was not until the Wright brothers returned to Dayton, Ohio, that they developed the film. the Daniels' photo, however, only gives one perspective of that historic event-- from the back of the airplane.
Stephen Smith's "First Flight" sculpture, unveiled during the 2003 Centennial, & Frank Wootton's painting help us to see the 1st flight from different angles. Just as the Wright brothers' success depended on viewing the problems of flight in novel & creative ways, perhaps these new perspectives will inspire us to change the world & explore new horizons.

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0005000/05381_0010038539 (added ca. 11/17/2007)


This sculpture depicting the 1st Flight donated by the State of NC to honor the memory of Orville & Wilbur Wright & the citizens of NC who welcomed & assisted them. Dedicated upon the Centennial of the historic 1st flight, 12/17/1903
State of NC Michael Easley, Governor 2003

Stephen H Smith sculptor

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0005000/05381_0010038549 (added ca. 11/17/2007)


If you decide to try your machine here...you will find a hospitable people...
William J Tate, Kitty Hawk Postmaster in a letter to Wilbur Wright dated 8/18/1900

Wilbur & Orville Wright accepted Tate's invitation & found that the Outer Banks of NC not only provided hospitable people but also the conditions that they needed to fly -- wind, sand & solitude. While solitude was important to get the work done, the Wrights did not work alone. From 1900 to 1903, families from the local communities & the crews from the local life saving stations provided much-needed assistance to the Wrights.
On the morning of 12/17/1903, the Wrights signaled for help & "John T Daniels, WS Dough, AD Etheridge, WC Brinkly of Manteo, & Johnny Moore of Nags Head arrived," wrote Orville. With their help the Flyer was moved to the launch rail. The men then cheered as the Flyer lifted off the ground.
The "First Flight" sculpture captures the Wrights' historic achievement & the hospitable people who supported them. Local families& descendants of the 1st flight witnesses continue to welcome visitors to the Memorial & the Outer Banks.

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0005000/05381_0010038559 (added ca. 11/17/2007)


In commemoration of the conquest of the air...

From its establishment as a national monument in 1927 to the 1st Flight Centennial of 2003, the local people of the Outer Banks have shown "dauntless resolution & inconquerable faith" in honoring & recognizing the 1st flight of the Wright brothers.
The Kill Devil Hills Memorial Assoc, later to become the 1st Flight Society, took the lead in organizing the 25th-anniversary celebration held in 1928.
The event featured the unveiling of the 1st flight marker & the laying of the cornerstone for the monument - two of the most prominent features at Wright Bros National Memorial. For the 1st time, the lcoation of the 1st flight received as much attention as the flight itself. Orville Wright, Amelia Earhart, & more than 3,000 people from the area participated in the event. Ironically, to attend they traveled by almost every means but air.
Over the years local citizens, the 1st Flight Society & people from all over the state of NC have continuted to provide the grass roots support necessary to host annual commemorative events. With their help, the reconstructed camp buildings were opened during the 50th-anniversary celebration. The 1st Flight Airstrip opened during the 60th-anniversary. & the "First Flight" sculpture, a gift from the people of NC, was dedicated during the 100th anniversary celebration.
More than 120,000 people, from all over the world, attended the six-day 2003 Centennial celebration that included an attempt to reenact the 1st flight.

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0005000/05381_0010038569 (added ca. 11/17/2007)

More Info

Medium: Bronze
Artist: Stephen H Smith
Related subjects:
Orville Wright; Wilbur Wright
Location: Kill Devil Hills North Carolina

Nearest Metro: N/A () (click station name for all sculptures nearby) (dcMem ID #5381 )

Links & other sources
News release about 'First Flight'
Stephen Smith's website

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