Wright Brothers Day is celebrated in the United States on December 17 each year. The date commemorates the Wright brothers' first successful flight in heavier-than-air, mechanically propelled aircraft, accomplished on Dec. 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, N.C. Observations, including the annual Wright Brothers dinner where the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy is awarded in Washington D.C., take place on or around this day. Celebrations are also held at Kitty Hawk and in Dayton, Ohio, where the brothers lived.
Other activities include: luncheons in honor of the Wright brothers; school activities focused on aviation and the Wright brothers' achievements in opening doors for future flight advancements; and field trips to aviation and flight museums and centers.
This day is observed nationally since 1963 to honor Wilbur and Orville Wright, but it is not a U.S. federal public holiday.
Wright Brothers Day falls on the same day as Pan American Aviation Day (Dec. 17), but should not be confused with National Aviation Day (Aug. 19).
Pan American Aviation Day celebrates and stimulates interest in aviation in the western hemisphere as an important way to develop more rapid communications and cultural development.
Activities on the day include: school trips to aviation museums or centers; classroom exercises to stimulate students' interest in and knowledge of the history and technological advancements of aviation in the western hemisphere; and special meetings or luncheons focusing on aviation.
Pan American Aviation Day was first observed on Dec. 17, 1940. The celebrations for the day included first showings of two motion pictures, the presentation of the Collier Trophy by President Franklin Roosevelt, an aviation banquet, and broadcasts by military officials. Stamps commemorating Pan-American Aviation Day also were sold that year.
Pan American Aviation Day is a United States Federal Observance Day but is not a public holiday in the United States.
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