It was National Aviation Day in the U.S. on Sunday, marking what would have been Orville Wright’s 141st birthday. The day passed unnoticed in most places although it’s been a nationally proclaimed special day since 1939, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deemed the nation’s first pilot of a powered aircraft worthy of remembrance on his birthday. As national observances go, it’s not a particularly significant one. At his discretion, the sitting president may order federal buildings to fly the flag and he might encourage people to take part in activities that bolster aviation. It’s in the same league as White Cane Safety Day and Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day. The First Flight Society held a full program of events Sunday to mark the day.
Among the highlights of the program was an hour-long scheduled presentation by astronaut Dr. Don Thomas, who made four trips in the space shuttle. Thomas was to speak about living and working in space and the preparations that will be made as man gets ready to return to the moon and perhaps start exploring more distant places. Thomas also presided over a hands-on presentation that looked at how liquids behave in space and there were numerous other activities at the national historic site to occupy kids and adults.