No ceremony at memorial, but Wright Brothers first flight will still be celebrated

Orville Wright makes the first powered, controlled flight on Earth as his brother Wilbur looks on in Kill Devil Hills on Dec. 17, 1903. [photo by John Daniels of U.S. Life-Saving Station Kill Devil Hills/courtesy Library of Congress]

The First Flight Society has announced there will be no formal ceremony to commemorate the 117th anniversary of man’s first powered flight this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the Wright Brothers historic achievements will still be honored at Big Kill Devil Hill and along the Outer Banks on December 17.

“Due to limitations on gathering size we will not be having our events at the Wright Brothers National Memorial,” said Mike Fonseca, First Flight Society president.

The society, National Park Service and Outer Banks Forever will be teaming up for a virtual celebration along with some live activities at the memorial in Kill Devil Hills.

“We still encourage people to go to the park, but we won’t be holding our ceremony,” Fonseca said in a letter posted over the weekend.

“We also encourage everyone to watch the Celebration Fireworks put on by the Town of Kill Devil Hills,” Fonseca said.

The fireworks show will be launched from Avalon Pier beginning at 7 p.m.

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Sam Walker was news director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3 from August 2011 to March 2022.