Nation: The Whole World To See

Three balloonists make history

The apparition that graced the skies over France last week looked rather like a giant exclamation point, which was entirely appropriate for the occasion. An enormous silvery balloon —eleven stories high—was sailing majestically through the air at 12 m.p.h., while in a red and yellow gondola below rode three bleary-eyed Americans, their excitement overcoming their exhaustion.

With elephantine dignity, the helium-filled balloon finally landed in a wheatfield in the village of Miserey, 50 miles west of Paris. By then, hundreds of cars had roared onto the scene, and villagers were...

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