US Senate Recognizes December 17 as ‘Wright Brothers Day’

Recognizing December 17 as "Wright Brothers Day'' and commemorating the 120th anniversary of the first powered flight.

The first flight of the Wright Flyer, December 17, 1903, Orville piloting, Wilbur running at wingtip. [Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum]


On December 18, 2023 the United States Senate passed S. 513: a resolution recognizing December 17 as ‘Wright Brothers Day’ and commemorating the 120th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville’s momentous successful flight on that day.

Senators Ted Budd (R-NC), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), JD Vance (R-OH), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Todd Young (R-IN) were the original sponsors of the resolution, which reads:

Whereas, on December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright (referred to in this preamble as the “Wright Brothers”) of Dayton, Ohio, performed the first powered, controlled, sustained, heavier-than-air flight, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina;

Whereas the Wright Brothers continued their experiments and flights in the United States and throughout Europe for people to see the miracle of flight;

Whereas the successful first flight by the Wright Brothers launched a new era of exploration, from the solo transatlantic flight by Charles Lindbergh, to the Apollo 11 moon landing by Neil Armstrong, and beyond;

Whereas people of the United States achieved the first supersonic flight less than 50 years after the first flight by the Wright Brothers, and achieved manned spaceflight less than 60 years after the first flight by the Wright Brothers;

Whereas the modern commercial aviation system that links the world through commerce, trade, and travel owes its existence to the work of the Wright Brothers;

Whereas the 3-axis control system devised for the “Wright Flyer” remains the standard for fixed-wing aircraft;

Whereas the original “Wright Flyer” remains on display at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall;

Whereas the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, welcomes more than 400,000 visitors annually to the location of the first flight by the Wright Brothers;

Whereas the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio, welcomes more than 90,000 visitors annually to the locations where the Wright Brothers lived, worked, and conducted many test flights;

Whereas the Wright Brothers gave rise to a world of aviation supported and enjoyed by enthusiasts, hobbyists, and aeronautical professionals across the world;

Whereas the Wright Brothers finally realized the ancient and universal human aspiration to defy gravity;

Whereas, in 1959 and 1961, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, joint resolutions designating December 17 as “Wright Brothers Day”;

Whereas, in 1963, Public Law 88-209 (36 U.S.C. 143) permanently designated December 17 each year as “Wright Brothers Day”;

and Whereas the inventive, courageous, and perseverant nature of the Wright Brothers exemplifies the spirit of the United States and the people of the United States;

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate-

(1) recognizes December 17 as “Wright Brothers Day”;
(2) commemorates December 17, 2023, as the 120th anniversary of the first flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright;
and
(3) calls on the people of the United States to observe “Wright Brothers Day” with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

Everyone in aviation (and beyond) will be aware of the Wright Brothers notable first flight in 1903. While their achievement was built on earlier work and achievement, despite a number of parochial modern claimants, there is no real question that the Wrights achieved  the first powered, controlled, sustained, heavier-than-air flight in human history. Moreover they successfully repeated it and built on that work to ensure future developments were possible. While their legacy is complex in other ways, the display of the Wright Flyer in the Smithsonian also highlights this as an official notable day in America.

Furthermore, the United States’ observation of the National Aviation Day (on August 19), which celebrates the development of aviation, was established in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt, by presidential proclamation, chose the date of Orville Wright’s birthday.

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The Wright Flyer at the Smithsonian Institution. [Photo: National Air and Space Museum]

Moreno-Aguiari

Born in Milan, Italy, Moreno moved to the U.S. in 1999 to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. His aviation passion began early, inspired by his uncle, an F-104 Starfighter Crew Chief, and his father, a military traffic controller. Childhood adventures included camping outside military bases and watching planes at Aeroporto Linate. In 1999, he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, to obtain his commercial pilot license, a move that became permanent. With 24 years in the U.S., he now flies full-time for a Part 91 business aviation company in Atlanta. He is actively involved with the Commemorative Air Force, the D-Day Squadron, and other aviation organizations. He enjoys life with his supportive wife and three wonderful children.

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About Moreno Aguiari 3336 Articles
Born in Milan, Italy, Moreno moved to the U.S. in 1999 to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. His aviation passion began early, inspired by his uncle, an F-104 Starfighter Crew Chief, and his father, a military traffic controller. Childhood adventures included camping outside military bases and watching planes at Aeroporto Linate. In 1999, he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, to obtain his commercial pilot license, a move that became permanent. With 24 years in the U.S., he now flies full-time for a Part 91 business aviation company in Atlanta. He is actively involved with the Commemorative Air Force, the D-Day Squadron, and other aviation organizations. He enjoys life with his supportive wife and three wonderful children.

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