Local News

Wright Brothers Fly First Class With New Postage Stamp

Posted May 23, 2003

— It was a first-class day in Kill Devil Hill Thursday. The

United States Postal Service

officially issued a new stamp at the local post office honoring the Wright Brothers' flight nearly 100 years ago.

Hundreds of collectors turned out for the unveiling. Barry Southard came all the way from Tennessee to get his hands on a new addition to his stamp collection.

"I've been collecting stamps since I was 8 years old," he said. "When the Wright brothers were here, there was no Kill Devil Hills Post Office. This was all Kitty Hawk."

A stamp to honor the Wright Brothers makes sense. After all, it was a letter that convinced them to come to Kitty Hawk. The letter was written by former postmaster, William Tate.

The letter read: I would say that you would find here nearly any type of ground you could wish. You could, for instance, get a stretch of sandy land 1 mile by 5 with a bare hill in center 80-feet high. Not a tree or bush anywhere to break the evenness of the wind current.

"I think the stamp is great," said Everette Tate, the former postmaster's great grand-nephew.

The U.S. Postal Service has honored the Wright brothers with stamps before. The first, a six-cent airmail stamp -- was issued Dec. 17, 1949 for the 46th anniversary of their first flight. Another pair of air-mail stamps were issued in 1973.

The latest stamp is the only first- class stamp issued in their honor. Eighty-five million First Flight stamps went on sale Friday.


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