The Monitor published an editorial in 1928 on the 25th anniversary of the Wrights' first flight. Wednesday, at the event's centennial, an excerpt is printed below as a reminder of how airplanes are still making the world smaller for everyone.
The airplane knows no frontiers. It transcends boundaries. The significance of the International Civil Aeronautics Conference, assembled in Washington to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Wrights' first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., is that the delegates from 40 nations are sitting down to discuss an instrument that, by its nature, must be considered internationally.
Not long ago the Second International Radiotelegraph Conference assembled in the same hall. It was a parallel indication of how the march of invention and new means of communication are shortening distance and eliminating time.
In addressing the convention, Harry F. Guggenheim, president of the fund that is doing much for the popularization of aeronautics, said: "The airplane, with its ability to break down the distances and physical barriers between nations, will also break down the petty prejudices that exist between them." To be "air-minded," he added is, to some degree at least, to be "internationally minded."
Orville Wright, that extraordinary composite of shyness and boldness, afraid to face an applauding audience yet courageous enough to risk himself in the first power-driven heavier-than-air machine, probably did not have a full conception of what he and his brother Wilbur were doing when they first flew. The war showed what the airplane meant as a destructive agent. The new era, symbolized by the present conference, shows what aviation is beginning to mean for peace.
It is increasingly evident that that first Wright airplane forced upon the nations of the world, willingly or unwillingly, a machine which spurned barriers. National fears made the airplane an instrument of war; commerce is making it a more effective instrument of peace.