The Virginia Festival of the Book brings together writers and readers to promote and celebrate books, reading, literacy, and literary culture over five days in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The 25th annual Virginia Festival of the Book begins today and … Continue reading Virginia Festival of the Book
The following is by Ross Coen, author of Fu-go: The Curious History of Japans Balloon Bomb Attack on America (Nebraska, 2014). Cohen is a historian who writes about the American West, Alaska, and the Arctic. When History Has More to Say … Continue reading From the Desk of Ross Coen: When History Has More to Say
Read the beginning of Chapter 1, "Genesis in the Great War" from Beneficial Bombing: The Progressive Foundations of American Air Power, 1917-1945 by Mark Clodfelter:
"29 May 1910
On a warm Sunday morning, U.S. Military Academy cadets assembled at Trophy Point to witness a spectacular event. Aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss had announced that he would pilot his thirty-foot-long biplane from Albany to New York and claim the New York World's prize of ten thousand dollars for making the first flight between the two cities. The initial leg of his journey had gone well: Curtiss had taken off shortly after 7:00 a.m., had stopped for fuel at Camelot, and had taken off again at 9:30. Yet as he approached Storm King Mountain a few minutes later at an altitude of one thousand feet, violent air currents above the Hudson River plummeted his frail craft to within fifty feet of the water. He struggled with the flight controls to prevent a further loss of altitude and, as he did so, flew past West Point. His dive hid the airplane from the cadets’ view and caused them to run to Cullum Hall, perched high on a bluff overlooking the Hudson. From there they could clearly see the tiny craft, the first flying machine that most of them had ever witnessed. Oblivious to the pilot’s difficulty, the cadets tossed their caps into the air and shouted their favorite football cheer, with a slight modification: “Rah, rah, ray!
Rah, rah, ray! West Point, West Point, Armay! Curtiss! Curtiss! Curtiss!”1