President Barack Obama declared Dec. 17 Wright Brothers Day in an annual proclamation to mark the Dec. 17, 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
The president’s declaration follows the Ohio Senate’s declaration last week declaring Wilbur and Orville Wright the first to invent the airplane to counter Connecticut lawmakers claims Gustave Whitehead beat the Dayton brothers in the air by two years.
State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, introduced the Ohio resolution.
Timothy Gaffney, an author who has written about the Wright brothers' history, said the president’s proclamation bolsters the Wrights’ claim as first in flight.
“It simply reinforces the fact that the federal government, including the National Park Service and the White House, recognizes the Wright brothers as the inventors of the airplane and they recognize Dec. 17 as the date of the first successful flight,” he said.
In his proclamation, Obama wrote in part:
“Before the 19th century, few thought human flight was an endeavor worth investigating. But in the decades leading up to the 20th century, a handful of devoted dreamers began conducting aeronautical research that eventually fell on the ears of two enthusiastic bicycle mechanics from Dayton Ohio, who would push past what others deemed impossible and take to the sky, spark a new and lasting industry and change the course of history. The invention of the airplane not only contributed to our understanding of physics and engineering —- it profoundly altered our world.”
“People and goods began moving across the globe at an unprecedented pace, new industries and fields of discovery sprang to life, and advances in aviation launched a new era of possibility in which our countrymen would walk on the moon just 66 years after that first 12 second flight."