Blast from the Past: First in Flight

North Carolina was admitted into the union on November 21, 1789.  That’s 225 years ago this week! In order to celebrate our 225th birthday in the union our blog is dedicated to our North Carolina pride all week long. We’re going to start this week off with one of our most proud accomplishments: “First in Flight”.

Wilbur and Orville Wright were the first humans to sail through the sky. In 1903, they built the world’s first plane and it launched in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Although the brothers where born in Ohio, North Carolina takes a lot of pride in being the location of this historic flight. In Kitty Hawk, there is a memorial honoring and celebrating this achievement that is visited by tourists and locals alike. Bumper stickers all over the state are emblazoned with the phrase “First in Flight”.


Aside from bumper stickers, we see the plane symbol everywhere: on our license plates, the back of the North Carolina state quarter, and even as the hologram on the NC identification card. Semiotics allows us to identify with the plane as being a proud North Carolinian. The plane symbolizes our achievements and successes as a state, and helps create the brand that North Carolina has developed over the past 225 years.

What do you consider to be North Carolina’s brand?

– Margaret Cafasso, Kierstin Geary, Connor Gold, Olivia Sadler, Hannah Zeskind

5 thoughts on “Blast from the Past: First in Flight

  1. Being from Florida, I know that the Wright brothers are what make NC best known. As a resident, that shows too. We clearly take pride in the inventions and put it in our state issued things like licenses and license plates. But when I moved to Charlotte I notices that the banks were a really big part of the culture here. Bank of America headquarters are in Charlotte and they also own the Panthers Stadium.

  2. I remember in third grade my parents took me to the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers magnificent discovery of flying. It was during December in the freezing cold, but it was well worth it. I learned so much about the history of their travels and mishaps all while attempting to achieve something that would change the world forever (thank god they figured it out). For me, however, I would have to have to say that North Carolina’s brand would have to revolve around entertainment. Although we are no California, North Carolina has had a fair share of recognizable people from actors and actresses to musicians. George Clinton (the godfather of soul), Little Brother( legendary hip-hop group), J Cole, Andy Griffith, Vince McMahon, Chuck Brown, and lets not forget Leland’s own Charlie Daniels, the man who brought us the wonderful tale of Devil Went Down to Georgia. There are several other names I could mention but this is just a comment an not an essay. At any rate, great post and a great way of keeping history alive!

  3. I think North Carolina’s brand is of history, tourism and agriculture. The eastern part of the state has several historic sites including Black Beard ship wrecks and old historic sites related to the revolutionary as well as civil war times. Tourism is evident across the state with hiking in the west and water activities in the east. Also North Carolina is the home of tobacco thanks to the Duke family. Which has also set the stage for all the wonderful colleges we have here in our state.

  4. I thought this was a great article because it really makes you think about state pride and how one’s state pride reflects the state’s brand. This is very evident on a college campus because there are a lot of out-of-state students, so when you try to talk to someone about his or her home state, immediately there is one or two characteristics of the state that is mentioned! Although I am originally from North Carolina, when I lived out of state and my mom would tell people we came from North Carolina, she would always make a “First in Flight” reference. Obviously, I did not think about this when I was younger, but it truly is branding the state.

  5. Alana, Jake, Jordan, Sonja,
    It was great to read all of your different opinions on what our brand image is here in NC! I agree that North Carolina has a great mix of history, entertainment, and business that work to create a special identity.
    Olivia Sadler

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