Orville Wright Soars over Dayton: Editorial

by Dr. Richard Stimson

in Celebration Activities

Orville flew for the first time over the City of Dayton on the occasion of the 1910 Dayton Industrial Exposition and Fall Festival.

The Exposition featured various means of transportation including bicycles, automobiles, and balloons Orville agreed to fly Aviation Day, Thursday September 22.

On the appointed day thousands of people swamped Dayton, standing along the river banks, house tops and every other vantage point that could be found.

Here is an edited account of the flight as printed the next day in the Dayton Daily News editorial page:

First, there came into the eastern sky a tiny speck, no larger than the cloud, which came in answer to the prayer for rain, the size of the hand of a man. A shapeless thing it seemed, a darkened stain it looked against the leadened evening sky, high up where sits in all her majesty the star of the morning on a summer’s breaking day.

It grew in grace with every second. Became bolder as it approached. Took form like an eagle on the near approach of high-hung aerie, as steady as an apple suspended from the twig when the breeze has sunk to sleep. Only it grew in size until its every outline was seen as clean-cut as a cameo against the blue of heaven.

On, on it came, enlarging with its near approach until it stood high up above the city, a giant bird of paradise, an apparition, angel-like, swung from the hand of God and guided by infinity. It floated in its majesty like a flimsy cloud upon an April morning to delight the world. It moved across smoky heavens above the feted breath of factory, it glided over the perfumed lawns. It sailed across the choked and hardened streets. It cut with its shadow the curling water of the river — high flung above them all like some great thing of life scanning the weakness of an ignorant world.

It circled over the home that sheltered those in whose brain it was born, and seemed to shower upon the humble roof a benediction. It trembled for a moment in its wheeling as if loathe to leave the vicinage of the abode of its creators.

It was a love-like look it seemed to give to those who for so many years have waited for this demonstration of the genius of those patient men of skill and science, yet waited with the firmest faith in their achievement.

And then, as if content, it sailed away toward the east again, from whence it came. Small it grew and fainter. The bold outlines were lost, To the human eye it again took on the formless aspect, a blur or blot upon the evening sky.

Fainter and fainter, a mere speck again, settling in the tinted hues of the evening until a whiff of smoke blotted it from sight.

And Orville Wright in the aeroplane which he and his brother, Wilbur invented, had soared over the city of Dayton and over the home of their youth and their manhood, and returned to the field of their endeavor near the city of Dayton.

Gray-haired men and fair-haired women, and younger men and little children all had seen this mighty and potential toy, this mechanism that is to bring peace to the nations of the world, and promote humanity, in all of its glory. They had beheld the final triumph of human endeavor over the air.

They had seen the beginning of the conquering of another element by man, to be used by him as a bearer and as his highway. Forgive them, God, if in their ignorance they failed to realize there is no limit to human intelligence, no unsolvable mysteriousness in the universe, no miracles but may be wrought by man.

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