1983--a Year for Remembering

THE Atlantic

Two hundred years ago in the small town of Annonay in the Rhone Valley, paper manufacturers Joseph Michel and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier sent a sheep, a rooster, and a duck as the first riders in their free-flight balloon. Two months later, on November 21, 1783, a linen-and-paper balloon constructed by the Montgolfier brothers carried two human pioneers 5½ miles across Paris on a 25-minute journey. We can only speculate about whether the event created as much excitement and suspense as the flights of John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, but there is little doubt that many understood its significance: it opened a new chapter in humanity’s quest of the skies and paved the way for the revolution in travel that has affected every facet of our lives in this century.

Today, the 743 million passengers boarding planes each year are so accustomed to speeding across continents and oceans that they give little thought to how or where manned flight began. But when we stop to remember—as many will this year, during the 200th Anniversary of Flight—the distance we have traveled in two centuries from a balloon ride across Paris to a flight to the moon and a spaceship in orbit, it leaves us reeling.

in tribute to the pioneers of flight and those who followed, France and balloonists from around the world are staging a series of events and exhibitions, beginning in Burgundy in April and culminating in Paris with the re-enactment of the first manned flight on November 21. One of the most colorful events will cake place on June 26, when 30 balloons will lift off simultaneously from historic sites in Paris as a collective salute to the early aeronauts.

But great moments in flight are only some of the important events 1983 will recall. Milestones in the quest for spiritual elevation are marked by the 500th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther, the millennium of Islam’s most important center of learning and the oldest university in the world, Al-Azhar, and the Holy Year declared by Pope John Paul II.

Events that helped shape our hemisphere will be remembered too. Canada is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Newfoundland, the first colony of the British Empire. The 200th anniversary of the birth of Simon Bolivar will he celebrated by Venezuela and five other Latin American countries that called him the Liberator.

Indeed, the 11th annual Atlantic International Travel Planner lists more than 3000 events in 116 countries around the world, covering an extraordinary range of activity, from jazz and ballet in the midnight sun at the Arctic to sampling wine and wildflowers at the southernmost tip of Africa.

We hope you will keep the International Travel Planner handy and use it often when you are planning your travel. If you want more information, reader service cards have been provided on pages 13 and 21. You need only till them in and send them along to receive detailed material as a further aid to planning your travel in 1983.

—Kay Showker