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Section 5 National Commemorative Issues

Commemorative Stamp
North Carolina's First Flight Centennial Commission requested, through Senator Helms' office in 1996, that the U.S. Postal Service consider producing a stamp that would honor the Wright brothers and their historic achievements. The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission wrote to the Chairperson of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee on November 9, 2000, also requesting consideration of the issuance of a new U.S. stamp to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight made by Wilbur and Orville Wright on December 17, 1903. Gen. Dailey, Chairperson of the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, asked his fellow Commissioners to present similar requests. On November 17, 2001, the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission received a response saying, "We have made preliminary plans to commemorate this event in 2003, but we are not prepared to release the details at this time."

On May 22, 2003, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 37-cent First Flight commemorative postage stamp to mark the 100th anniversary of the first controlled, powered, sustained flight in a heavier-than-air flying machine. The official first day of issue ceremony for the First Flight stamp took place at 10:30 a.m. at both the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, and the First Flight Centennial Pavilion at Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Eighty-five million self-adhesive First Flight stamps were printed and made available in a souvenir sheet of 10 stamps of one design. The stamp illustration by McRay Magleby of Provo, Utah, depicts Orville Wright at the controls of the 1903 Wright flyer. Text at the bottom of the design reads: "First Flight - Wright Brothers - 1903." The front of the souvenir sheet features a detail of a photograph of Orville and Wilbur Wright taken in Pau, France, in 1909. To see the First Flight stamp, please visit www.usps.com/communications/news/stamps/2003.htm, and go to May 22, 2003.

Commemorative Coin
In November 1997, federal legislation was passed directing the U.S. Mint to produce a series of commemorative coins honoring the Wright brothers and their achievements. The First Flight Centennial Foundation initiated the legislation for this program and is the designated recipient organization. The Foundation provided input for the designs of the three coins that are in denominations of $10, $1 and $.50. The U.S. Mint produced the coins and the sale of the coins began August 1, 2003 for one year. The Foundation expects to receive a portion of the proceeds on a matching basis from the sale of the coins. Surcharges realized from the sale of the coins will, by statute, be used for: (1) repairing, refurbishing and maintaining the Wright Monument on the Outer Banks of North Carolina; and (2) expanding or, if necessary, replacing and maintaining the visitor center and other facilities at Wright Brothers National Memorial on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, including providing educational programs and exhibits for visitors.

A quarter commemorating the Wright brothers' first flight was unveiled in Raleigh, N.C., on March 12, 2001, by U.S. Representative Etheridge, North Carolina Governor Easley and U.S. Mint Director Johnson. This quarter was the 12th quarter released in the 50 State Quarter program.

On March 18, 2002, the Ohio quarter was unveiled as part of the 50 State Quarter program. Ohio selected a design featuring the Wright Flyer and former astronaut Sen. John Glenn, with the slogan "Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers."

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