On Monday at the White House in Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama made the yearly presidential proclamation marking Tuesday, Dec. 17 as Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the brothers’ historic 12-second flight 110 years ago in Kitty Hawk, N.C. on Dec. 17, 1903.
President Obama noted that these first steps by Orville and Wilbur Wright pushed “the boundaries of human imagination” and paved “the way for over a century of innovation.”
The President also remarked on the often forgotten efforts of the sister of the two brothers, Katharine Wright. According to the President’s proclamation, Katharine worked as a teacher often supporting the family with her teaching salary. She also ran the family bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio while brothers Orville and Wilbur were away from conducting their experiments in heavier-than-air flight in North Carolina. After the brothers were successful, Katharine also handled many communication duties for the brothers, talking to the press and to foreign officials in attempts to build the aviation business.
The President linked this past achievements as an example of why the United States must focus on building opportunities and encouraging for the next generation of innovators, stating,
“America has always been a Nation of strivers and creators. As our next generation carries forward this proud tradition, we must give them the tools to translate energy and creativity into concrete results. That is why my Administration is dedicated to improving education in the vital fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). We are working to broaden participation among underrepresented groups, and through Race to the Top, we are raising standards and making STEM education a priority. Last year, we announced plans to create a national STEM Master Teacher Corps -- a group of the best STEM teachers in the country, who will receive resources to mentor fellow educators, inspire students, and champion STEM education in their communities.”
In 1963 the U.S. Congress designated Dec. 17 of each yeas as Wright Brothers Day to commemorate the historic achievement of the Wright family, authorizing the President to create a proclamation each year calling on the nation to observe the day.