Dueling Quarters

The Ohio Quarter, which shows a picture of the 1905 Wright Flyer and an astronaut  walking on the moon, was supposed to honor the Wright brothers and Neil Armstrong, calling attention to the contributions that Ohio has made to aeronautics and astronautics. But at the last minute the slogan "Birthplace of Aviation" was changed to "Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers." Wilbur Wright (who was born in Indiana) and Ohio's contributions were left out!

Editorial Comment: The reason the slogan was changed was an eleventh-hour eruption of the ridiculous quarrel between Ohio and North Carolina over the bragging rights to the Wright brothers and their accomplishments. North Carolina's slogan was to have been "First in Flight," and both slogans were memorable, poetic, and accurate. But some politician somewhere got up on his high horse and began to assert his state's interests over the other. The Treasury Department, mistakenly thinking there was a real fire behind this political smoke, required both states to change their slogans and thereby avert another Civil War. Ohio became the birthplace of aviation pioneers (like every other state in the Union) and North Carolina simply claimed a "First Flight." Two monumentally great phrases were reduced to almost meaningless drivel.

Among the Buckeyes and Tar Heels who actually spend these quarters, there is no controversy.  It's just a drum that a few unimaginative politicians and journalists like to beat now and again because it sounds important and diverts attention from real issues.  Like Wilbur and Orville before us, the Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company of Dayton, Ohio has enjoyed the considerable hospitality, help, and interest of North Carolinians. We have always returned these favors without a second thought. Since 2000 when we first began taking our aircraft to North Carolina to fly, there has never be a hint of competition or ill-will. The folks who truly appreciate the accomplishments of the Wright brothers also understand that their legacy is large enough to be shared by two states.

Ohio and North Carolina State Quarters