Orville, Wilbur and John

Orville, Wilbur and John

Sunday, December 14, 2003
| Luke 3:7-18

One hundred years ago this week, people started to think differently when exposed to a new reality, a reality Bill Gates called the first World Wide Web. Could anything with a similar impact on the world have occurred about 2,000 years ago?

If people picked baby names on the basis of historical importance, the world today would be full of Orvilles and Wilburs.

But it’s not.

Still, few people have changed the course of history more than the Wright Brothers of Dayton, Ohio. One hundred years ago this week, these bicycle-making brothers soared into space with the Wright stuff at the command of a small, bi-wing airplane, achieving an altitude of perhaps 30 feet. In the process, they developed steering techniques that are still being used in 21st-century airplanes, spacecraft, submarines and robots.

On December 17, 1903, Orville took off from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, near Kitty Hawk, and flew the gasoline-powered Wright Flyer for 12 seconds. That same day, Wilbur piloted the plane for 59 seconds, covering a grand total of 852 feet, the two of them thus becoming the first flyers ¾ first famous flyers, first famous frequent flyers. And thus, too, the advent of the age of aeronautics.

On this day, people started to think ...

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