George Bush photo

Proclamation 6512—Wright Brothers Day, 1992

December 02, 1992

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

In this last decade of the 20th century, as we assess the great scientific and technological achievements of the past 100 years, one event continues to shine forth as a triumph of human ingenuity and labor: Orville and Wilbur Wright's first successful flight above the windswept dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Although their handcrafted aircraft bucked and dipped through its low, brief flight of some 120 feet, the potential for human progress -- in aviation, engineering, and countless other fields -- at that moment soared. In many ways, we have never looked back.

With the world's first, controlled manned flight in a mechanically propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft, Orville and Wilbur Wright launched the age of aviation and, in so doing, changed forever the world in which we live. Today millions of people travel throughout the world by air -- often in planes that boast wingspans longer than the distance covered by the Wrights' first flight. From cargo jets used in private commerce to military aircraft employed in our Nation's defense and vital humanitarian missions, present-day aircraft play an indispensable role in ensuring America's economic growth and national security. In addition, the continuing success of our Space Shuttle Program points toward an exciting future of exploration above Earth's atmosphere and throughout the solar system. Clearly, the uses of aviation have developed far beyond the original expectations of Wilbur Wright, who, in a classic example of understatement, predicted that the airplane would "always be limited to special purposes," serving as "a factor" in war and possibly "[having] a future as a carrier of mail."

By commemorating the historic events of December 17, 1903, the day that Orville and Wilbur Wright triumphed over the force of gravity and the skepticism of friends, we not only celebrate the many uses of aviation but also recall the infinite value of labor and learning, courage and perseverance. Known to many as the owners of a modest bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, the Wrights were, in fact, gifted, painstaking, and keenly perceptive engineers. In addition to experimenting time and again with airplane models and wind tunnels, the Wrights also sifted carefully through data that had been collected by other scientists and engineers, dismissing that which proved unreliable and developing much of the existing handbook on fundamental aerodynamics. Yet it was Nature herself that inspired these pioneers, who achieved three-axis control in flight by closely observing the motion of birds.

Eager to learn at every trial and opportunity, the Wrights realized their dreams of manned flight and provided succeeding generations with a timeless example of the rewards of education and hard work. We do well to honor their memory, and as a result of legislation signed into law last October, future Americans will have an opportunity to learn more about the Wrights through the Dayton Aviation National Historic Park.

The Congress, by a joint resolution approved December 17, 1963 (77 Stat. 402; has designated the 17th day of December of each year as "Wright Brothers Day" and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation commemorating that day.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 17, 1992, as Wright Brothers Day. I invite all Americans to observe that day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of December, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6512—Wright Brothers Day, 1992 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives