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How Kitty Hawk Changed the World: College Admission Essay Sample

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(Please note: my assumption in answering this question is that we do not have the ability to "change history" and are simply observing a moment that is important to us.)

Given the opportunity to be present at any event in time, I would choose to be near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. On that gusty afternoon, Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully flew the first heavier-than-air vehicle 120 feet in twelve seconds. The Wrights' invention opened up an incredible opportunity for world-changing technological developments, a series of remarkable events that culminated less than 67 years later when Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.

At Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers did more than fundamentally alter travel. The two bicycle mechanics ushered in a completely new era of interconnectedness among the world population. In many ways, Kitty Hawk was the birth of the globalization movement that has come to define the economic, political and cultural lives of humanity in the 20th century and beyond. Without air travel, information must travel by sea or by rail, taking weeks or months to arrive at its destination. How many university students would travel to Paris to study abroad if it took three weeks by ship? How could we taste fruit grown only in South America if it was subjected to months of perilous travel?

Air travel created a paradigmatic shift in the manner in which humans interact with their environment. The changes have not all been for the better, but life without them is unfathomable. A disease such as SARS originates in Asia, but decimates the economy of Toronto. Many scientists believe that AIDS has been around for hundreds of years, but only became an epidemic once flights began traveling into remote regions of Africa. President Bush can be in the United States speaking before Congress one day, and in Iraq the next. Finally, one cannot forget the Blitz of London during World War II or the B-27 bomber that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I have always been fascinated with air travel. Ever since I was a young child, airplanes have been a source of continual amusement and wonder. I peek into the cockpit every time I board an airplane, wishing that it was my job to shuttle the passengers safely from Chicago to Los Angeles. Likewise, I have always been fascinated by different countries and cultures. Without airplanes, I would never have studied abroad, and would never have developed an affinity for Thai food. I cannot imagine my life without air travel. Given the opportunity, I would stand out on those hills and watch Orville and Wilbur go zipping through the air for the very first time.

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