Written by Eli Dean // Photo by Macy Cox
Harding’s History and Political Science Department hosted its third “1924 Experience” Oct. 19 to celebrate Harding’s Centennial. The event was at Cone Chapel and its theme was the world of aviation.
Dr. Jeremy Kinney served as the speaker for this event. Kinney is the associate director for research and curatorial affairs at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian, and he said that his love for aviation and his job at the Smithsonian are things he is really passionate about. He encourages students to find their own topics of interest.
“Go as far as you can,” Kinney said. “The things you’re interested in — you’d be surprised finding out all the different ways you can make a career out of your interests. If you’re consumed by learning about a topic, you can really go as far with anything.”
Assistant professor of history Kimberly Laing said the event was another opportunity for students to look back at the history of the world and how far technology has come in the past 100 years.
“I am hoping that The 1924 Experience will showcase what the world was like when Harding began,” Laing said. “When we see that every era has its great moments and its terrible moments, we are able to reflect more optimistically on our own time and we can better understand the decisions that were made.”
The event focuses on the first aerial flight around the world, which was accomplished by four members of the U.S. Army Air Services and lasted 175 days. The 26,345-mile flight was the end of a global race to be the first to complete a circumnavigation mission, similar to the race to the moon that would take place 45 years later. Laing said it is important to understand the linkage between the past and the present.
“Our past informs every part of our present,” Laing said. “When we understand where we have come from we are better able to deal with our present. I think that students gain a greater appreciation for how complex the past is and how many things are happening at the same time.”
Junior Jackson Trahant attended a luncheon Thursday with Kinney, and while he didn’t know anything about aviation going in, he was drawn to the idea of working in a field where his interests could take center stage.
“It makes me very appreciative of the world we live in where a specific interest can be a career,” Trahant said. “There’s a lot of different things you can learn about all sorts of things, and so for me it makes me hopeful that I could do the same thing later in life.”