Wright Brothers Day

December 17, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Today is Saturday, December 17th. Good morning aviation aficionados. Today’s holidays are:

Wright Brothers Day

Wright Brothers Day, sometimes also referred to as Pan American Aviation Day, commemorates the first successful flight of a heavier than air, mechanically propelled airplane. It is not a national holiday, but rather a United States national observance. The first flight was made by Orville Wright on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. He won the coin-toss with his brother Wilbur to be the first to fly their aircraft, the Wright Flyer I. The first flight covered a distance of 120 feet and lasted 12 seconds, at a whopping 6.8 mph.
The Congress, by a joint resolution approved December 17, 1963, as amended (77 Stat. 402; 36 U.S.C. 143), which designated December 17 of each year as “Wright Brothers Day” and has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation inviting the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
Since this historic event, not surprisingly, there have been many advances in aviation. These days we take flight for granted. We routinely board a jet-propelled passenger aircraft and fly to distant destinations worldwide; giving it little more thought than getting into our car and driving to the grocery store.
To celebrate this holiday, research the history of aviation.

National Wreaths Across America Day

National Wreaths Across America Day, celebrated on the third Saturday in December, is a movement to place a Christmas wreath on all Veterans grave markers in the United States. By coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and other veterans cemeteries around the country Wreaths Across America strives to remember our fallen heroes, honor those who serve and teach our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.
In 1992 Morrill Worcester and his business Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, had a surplus of wreaths toward the end of the holiday season. Years before as a boy, Worcester had visited Arlington National Cemetery in our nation’s capitol. The experience had reminded him through his life of the sacrifice some had made so that others, including himself, could succeed and flourish. Plans were made to lay the wreaths in honor of our Veterans at an older, less visited section of Arlington National Cemetery. Volunteers stepped forward to help deliver and place the wreaths.
In 2007, the Wreaths Across America non-profit group was founded. Their mission is to remember, honor, and teach others about the sacrifices these brave men and women made for their country. The event has expanded to all 50 states to lay wreaths at veterans cemeteries to remember our fallen heroes, honor those who serve and teach our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families. Traditionally, Wreaths Across America lays wreaths on the second Saturday in December, but beginning this year, wreaths will be laid on the third Saturday in December.

National Maple Syrup Day

Maple syrup is a distinctly North American product. Up until the 1930’s the United States led in maple syrup production, now Canada is the world’s largest maple syrup producer, producing over 5 million gallons of syrup each year. Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States.
Native Americans were the first to harvest and boil the sap of the maple tree into a thick syrup—a process that was documented and adopted by early settlers in the 1600’s. The practice was then adopted by the European settlers who gradually refined production methods. In the 1970’s further refinements in the processing of syrup were made due to advances in technology. A maple syrup production farm is called a sugarbush or a sugarwood. The sap is boiled in a sugar house which is also known as a sugar shack, sugar shanty or a cabane à sucre.
The sap of sugar maple, red maple or black maple trees are the most common trees from which maple syrup is made, although it is not limited to those maple species. In cold climates, maple trees store starch in their trunks and in their roots. In the spring, the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap. The maple trees are then tapped by boring holes into their trunks and the released sap is collected. After the sap is collected, it is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup. Tapping a maple tree does no permanent damage to the tree and only 10% of the sap that is produced in a year is actually collected. Many maple trees have been tapped for 150 years or more. It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.
If you want to celebrate National Maple Syrup Day, be sure that the syrup you use is genuine maple syrup, not pancake syrup. Pancake syrup, unless the ingredients on the label state otherwise, no longer contains maple syrup – nor is it required to.

On this date in

  • 1777 – France recognized American independence.
  • 1791 – A traffic regulation in New York City established the first “One Way” street.
  • 1895 – George L. Brownell received a patent for his paper-twine machine.
  • 1925 – Col. William “Billy” Mitchell was convicted of insubordination at his court-martial.
  • 1944 – The Army announced the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast which ensured that Japanese-Americans were released from detention camps.
  • 1953 – The Federal Communications Commission decided to approve RCA’s color television specifications.
  • 1957 – The United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
  • 1959 – The film “On the Beach” premiered in New York City and in 17 other cities. It was the first motion picture to debut simultaneously in major cities around the world.
  • 1969 – The Air Force closed its Project “Blue Book” by concluding that there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
  • 1969 – Television history was made when Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki Budinger were married on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.
  • 1973 – Thirty-one people were killed at Rome airport when Arab guerrillas hijacked a German airliner.
  • 1975 – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was sentenced to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald Ford.
  • 1976 – WTCG-TV, Atlanta, GA, changed its call letters to WTBS, and was uplinked via satellite. The station became the first commercial TV station to cover the entire United States.
  • 1979 – Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, was fatally beaten after a police chase in Miami, FL. Four white police officers were later acquitted of charges stemming from McDuffie’s death.
  • 1986 – Wayne Newton won a $19.2 million suit against NBC News. NBC had aired reports claiming a link between Newton and mob figures. The reports were proven to be false.
  • 1986 – Davina Thompson became the world’s first recipient of a heart, lungs, and liver transplant.
  • 1986 – Eugene Hasefus was pardoned and then released by Nicaragua. He had been convicted of running guns to the Contras.
  • 1992 – President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • 1992 – Israel deported over 400 Palestinians to Lebanese territory in an unprecedented mass expulsion of suspected militants.
  • 1996 – The Red Cross pulled all but a few of its western staff out of Chechnya after six foreign aid workers were killed by masked gunmen.
  • 1997 – President Clinton signed the No Electronic Theft Act. The act removed protection from individuals who claimed that they took no direct financial gains from stealing copyrighted works and downloading them from the Internet.
  • 2000 – Terrell Owens (San Francisco 49ers) caught an NFL-record 20 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. The previous record was held by Tom Fears (Los Angeles Rams) with 18 catches on December 3, 1950, against the Green Bay Packers. Owens also broke Jerry Rice’s franchise record of 16 receptions set in 1994 against the Los Angeles Rams.
  • 2002 – President George W. Bush ordered the Pentagon to have ready for use within two years a system for protecting American territory, troops and allies from ballistic missile attacks.
  • 2004 – President George W. Bush signed into law the largest overhaul of United States intelligence-gathering in 50 years. The bill aimed to tighten borders and aviation security. It also created a federal counter-terrorism center and a new intelligence director.

Noteworthy Birthdays


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