WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. President George W. Bush Wednesday praised the Wright brothers and their historic flight 100 years ago, saying they symbolized the American spirit.
Wilbur Wright's 59-second, 852-foot flight aboard a rickety homemade flying machine -- with Orville Wright running beside him -- ushered in the age of winged flight that has so changed the world, Bush added.
"The Wright brother's invention belongs to the world, but the Wright brothers belong to America," Bush said at a commemoration ceremony in North Carolina, where the flight took place.
"There's something in the American character that always looks for a better way and is unimpressed when others say it cannot be done. Those traits still define our nation."
Bush said that spirit propelled America into the forefront of flight achievement and space exploration and that America's commitment to those areas remains firm.
Four former astronauts attended the ceremony, including Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.