114th Anniversary of First Flight Celebrated at Wright Brothers Memorial

Posted By on November 30, 2017

On Sunday, December 17, 2017, the First Flight Society and the National Park Service (NPS) will continue 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.  The event takes place at the tent area south of the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center parking area and park entrance fees will be waived for the day.

The celebration will begin at 8:30 am and include the following speakers and presentations:

  • Patriotic music provided by the Northeastern High School Band from Elizabeth City, NC
  • Presentation of colors by the Civil Air Patrol, NC and VA Wings
  • Pledge of allegiance led by the Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technology
  • National Anthem led by Graham Outten, Dare County
  • Invocation by Mrs. Tess Judge, All Saints Episcopal Church
  • National Park Service welcome by Superintendent David Hallac
  • Recognition of special guests by Arthur Lamothe, President of the First Flight Society
  • Tribute to the 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.
  • Introduction of the program’s keynote speaker by Joseph Vazquez, Major General of the Civil Air Patrol and First Flight Society board member
  • Keynote speech by Brigadier General James R. Cluff, US Air Force, Vice Commander 25th Air Force Joint Base San Antonio-Lakeland Texas
  • Darrell Collins, former NPS Historian, will speak on Wright brothers’ achievement on December 17, 1903, and preside over the wreath-laying ceremony, which is conducted by descendants of the witnesses of the first flight to honor the Wright brothers.  

The celebration will conclude at 10:35 am with an aviation flyover by the United States Air Force paying tribute to the Wright brothers at the documented exact moment of the Wrights’ first flight (weather dependent). Park rangers will provide interpretive talks at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.  Youth are invited to participate in the park’s free Junior Ranger program available throughout the day at the temporary visitor center. The park will remain open until 5:00 pm.

The Wright Brothers' first flight on December 17, 1903 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, photographed by John T. Daniels.

The Wright Brothers’ first flight on December 17, 1903 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, photographed by John T. Daniels.

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Posted by Matt Artz

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