There is nothing I love better than a sunny day and a rainy night, and that is what we have been having here in Kill Devil Hills, NC. It was beautifully warm today at around 77 (how’s that for beach weather?), and now that the sun has gone down, there are some light scattered showers.
We spent part of today at the Wright Brothers’ National Memorial at Kitty Hawk. You can actually see the monument from one side of our hotel room. This was the sunset last night:
The monument is on the far left. It’s actually quite imposing, though you can’t tell from this distance. The last time we were here, I took this picture from the top.
This should give you an idea of the height of the monument. Those two wooden structures are replicas of the Wright Brothers’ camp, and the path and stone markers show where the first flights took place in 1903. Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk are spread out beyond that.
So why the imposing monument? I’ve seen some impressive memorials, but our nation really doesn’t have many that surpass this one, and the ones that do are for great presidents or entire wars.
In fact, no one better illustrates the importance of individual achievement than the Wright Brothers. Of course, they accomplished motor-powered flight through teamwork, but one may still marvel at the way the world changed because of two brothers from Ohio. And it changed in Kitty Hawk, which at the time really was the end of the earth. Their perseverance and ingenuity transformed the way the rest of us live, even if we don’t fly much ourselves. We live in a world that is incredibly smaller than it used to be because of them.
On the other hand, here are some of our fellow visitors to the park today. As for the birthplace of aviation, they seem unimpressed by such a mundane human achievement.
The video at the museum center describes how the Wright Brothers learned about wing design partly from studying birds, since “nature is the best engineer.” Correction: The God who created nature is the best Engineer. After all, He created the air as well as the birds that fly in it.
I’m glad we celebrate and commemorate the achievement of innovators like the Wrights, but perhaps its best that God puts something in our path every now and then to remind us of just how unremarkable our greatest human accomplishments truly are. All that work and study and experimentation to master flight only to find that science has merely matched “the sense God gave a goose.”