A monument was erected at Kill Devil Hills, site of the adventure, in 1929 and today the national shrine is outfitted with a wonderful visitor's center, a tower from which you can get a panoramic view of the Outer Banks coastline and the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, the actual marked out site of the flight with various exhibits of how they lived while working on their project, and an interesting museum.
My departed mother was born nearby and she used to tell stories about how her parents and other adults had visited the site while the Wrights were working on their project. They didn't fully understand what was going on but they did know that it was something special. Because of this, they weren't surprised when the successful flight testing was concluded.
December on the Outer Banks is quite brutal. With cold, damp winds and blowing nor'easters, biting sand can make life miserable and particularly back then when they lived in drafty sheds heated only by a central stove that had to be closely monitored. I can only imagine that sand was in everything they touched, including their food. And the danger of literally lying on a flying wing which could easily fail, driving the pilot into the ground and a quick death, was certainly something they were aware of. Yet despite all of these factors, they labored on, knowing that the odds were just as likely they would fail as succeed, if not higher. But succeed they did.
I find it sad that not much notice was made of the 100th anniversary of the event and the fact that so many Americans have never even learned about it these days in school. I find this to be just another indication of a failing system of education which worries much more about feelings than facts. History is such an important subject as it tells us from where we came and we can use it as a measure of where we are headed. That events like this are so easily forgotten is a travesty against the strength, determination and spirit that made America great.
Knowledge is a wonderful thing and studying those great men and women who sacrificed to make our life better will help us to appreciate the wonders that we have inherited. Come on, America, we can do better than this. Let's bring our heritage back to the forefront. And to the Wright Brothers I say thank you for a job well done.