Last night I finished my thirty-second book of the year, The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. It was by far one of the best biographies I have read. These men and their story of learning to fly was fascinating. They really had a sheer determination....very focused.
There were a few parts of their story that made me a little sad though. Their father, Milton, was a preacher for the United Brethren Church in Christ - even made it to the office of Bishop in this denomination. But the author said the church stood for "the abolition of slavery, women's rights, and opposition to Freemasonry and its secretive ways" (p.11). What about the church standing for proclaiming the love of Jesus? These issues are serious and need attention (well, maybe not the Freemasonry thing....not sure why they were so hot and bothered about them). Maybe the author just didn't want to delve into Jesus, but still.... I hope Bishop Wright believed in and proclaimed Jesus. But I'm not so sure. While his children were great and upstanding people, this author did not talk about their spiritual beliefs and made it seem that their beliefs were more habits and traditions in stead of deep-seeded beliefs. (Such as the brothers did not work on Sunday - they wanted to honor the Sabbath. But the author make it seem more like it was to rest instead of honoring the Lord.)
In the latter part of the book though, I think there's a hint as to what they believed -or rather what they didn't believe.
The two Wright brothers had several other siblings - one being a younger sister, Katherine. All the siblings were close, but Orville and Wilber seem to be closer to Katherine as she was single like they were, lived together with their father, and traveled together as their fame began to grow. Many years after Wilber died of typhoid fever, Katherine at the age of fifty-eight married for the first time.
You would think that her brother, Orville, would have been happy for her - to have found love so late in life. But he didn't. He seemed to like the husband - thought of him as a family friend. But he didn't want the marriage to happen. He refuse to attend the wedding nor speak to his sister after than. Only as she laid on her death bed did Orville change his mind and see her (pg 258). I hope there was forgiveness in that last conversation.
I can't help but think if the father preached Jesus' love and forgives than maybe time wouldn't have been lost and love would have been spoken instead of heated words.
Late in his life, Orville expressed sadness that his great flying machine became such a tool of death and destruction for war. It seemed he and his brother thought airplanes would being peace....not death. Sad to know that some many great inventions are used in ways far from the inventor's intention.