I find the following far more in the spirit of December 17th than the Wright recreation today. Here's a group of Americans who basically did what the Wrights did - they got together, made a significant accomplishment, and blazed a trail for others to follow.
Here's the story:
17 December 2003
For Immediate Release
SpaceShipOne Breaks the Sound Barrier
Today, a significant milestone was achieved by Scaled Composites: The first manned supersonic flight by an aircraft developed by a small company's private, non-government effort.
In 1947, fifty-six years ago, history's first supersonic flight was flown by Chuck Yeager in the Bell X-1 rocket under a U.S. Government research program. Since then, many supersonic aircraft have been developed for research, military and, in the case of the recently retired Concorde, commercial applications. All these efforts were developed by large aerospace prime companies, using extensive government resources.
Our flight this morning by SpaceShipOne demonstrated that supersonic flight is now the domain of a small company doing privately-funded research, without government help. The flight also represents an important milestone in our efforts to demonstrate that truly low-cost space access is feasible.
Our White Knight turbojet launch aircraft, flown by Test Pilot Peter Siebold, carried research rocket plane SpaceShipOne to 48,000 feet altitude, near the desert town of California City. At 8:15 a.m. PDT
, Cory Bird, the White Knight Flight Engineer, pulled a handle to release SpaceShipOne. SpaceShipOne Test Pilot, Brian Binnie then flew the ship to a stable, 0.55 mach gliding flight condition, started a pull-up, and fired its hybrid rocket motor. Nine seconds later, SpaceShipOne broke the sound barrier and continued its steep powered ascent. The climb was very aggressive, accelerating forward at more than 3-g while pulling upward at more than 2.5-g. At motor shutdown, 15 seconds after ignition, SpaceShipOne was climbing at a 60-degree angle and flying near 1.2 Mach (930 mph).
There's a picture here: http://www.hobbyspace.com/AAdmin/Images/RLV/Scaled/17dec03316%20079_cmp30.jpg