Mercer: Wright brothers soar in our imaginations

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Perhaps no Memorial Day has been as quietly momentous as May 30, 1899.

One hundred and 16 years ago, on what was then called Decoration Day, Wilbur Wright, 32, of Dayton, Ohio, sat down and wrote a letter by hand that literally changed the course of history.

He asked the Smithsonian Institution in Washington for all the papers the Smithsonian had published on aviation and a list of other works in English on the subject. He intended, he said, to devote whatever time he could spare from his bicycle shop to the systematic study of human flight.

Read the story in the Richmond [VA] Times-Gazette.