115th Annual Celebration of the Wright Brothers First Flight

Wright Brothers National Memorial
Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
December 17, 2018
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Time: 8:30 AM

Price: Park entrance fees will be waived the day of

On December 17, 2018, 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 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 Cadets

·         Pledge of allegiance

·         National Anthem performed by Echoes of Heritage, Manteo, NC

·         Invocation by Pastor Marc O’Neal, Camden United Methodist 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 Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine honoree Katherine G. Johnson by Dr. Tom Crouch, Senior Curator, Aeronautics. Smithsonian. Mrs. Johnson, one of NASA’s Hidden Figures, was a mathematician for 33 years best known for calculating the flight trajectories of John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission, when the astronaut insisted that she confirm the accuracy of the “new computer technology”.  Mrs. Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 for her extraordinary achievements with the NASA space program from the 1958 core Space Task Group through the success of the Space Shuttle.

·         Introduction of the program’s keynote speaker by Dr. Charles Davidson, Nags Head, NC

·         Keynote speech by Dr. David Bowles, Director, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

·         Wright Brothers Story presented by NPS Staff Historian, on the Wright brothers’ achievement on December 17, 1903.

·         Historian Darrel Collins of Manteo, NC will preside over the wreath-laying ceremony honoring the descendants of the witnesses of the first flight.  Mr. Collins is a descendent of the only all black Pea Island Coast Guard Station on the Outer Banks.

·         The celebration will conclude at 10:35 am with a NASA aviation flyover 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.


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