114th First Flight Anniversary Celebration Highlights [Video / Photo Gallery]
On Sunday, December 17, 2017, the First Flight Society and the National Park Service continued the tradition of honoring the accomplishments of Wilbur and Orville Wright at the 114th anniversary celebration of the first heavier-than-air, controlled, powered flight at the spot where history was made in 1903, at Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.
Admission fees were waived for the day, as events began at 8:30am and continued into the afternoon.
Patriotic music was once again provided by the Northeastern High School Band from Elizabeth City, as the Civil Air Patrol, NC and VA Wings provided the presentation of colors. as the Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technology led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The National Anthem led by Graham Outten, followed by an invocation by Tess Judge of All Saints Episcopal Church.
After a welcome from National Park Service Outer Banks Group Superintendent David Hallac and recognition of attending special guests and dignitaries, there was a fitting tribute to the 2017 First Flight Shrine honoree Elrey Borge Jeppesen by Dr. Tom Crouch, Senior Curator, Aeronautics. Smithsonian. Elrey Borge Jeppesen is an aviation pioneer whose “little black book” of notes and hand-drawn diagrams grew into the Jeppesen Airway Manual, which is known and trusted by pilots all over the world. Jeppesen’s portrait (pictured below) was then unveiled.
Introduced by Joseph Vazquez, Major General of the Civil Air Patrol and First Flight Society board member, the keynote speaker was Brigadier General James R. Cluff, US Air Force, Vice Commander 25th Air Force Joint Base San Antonio-Lakeland Texas.
The ceremony took place under a temporary tent, while the architecturally historic Visitor Center building at the park is undergoing renovations and getting newly updated exhibits installed.
As is tradition, Darrell Collins, former National Park Service Historian, spoke on Wright brothers’ achievement on December 17, 1903, and presided over the wreath-laying ceremony, honoring the living descendants of the local witnesses of the first flight who helped the Wright brothers launch into history.
At 10:35am, the exact minute of the Wrights’ first flight, the United States Air Force paying tribute with an aviation flyover.
You can see some highlights from the 114th anniversary celebration of the first flight at Wright Brothers National Memorial in our highlight video and photo gallery below!
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