Women Who WOW Us presents Amelia Earhart

I love this color portrait I found of Amelia on fiddlersgreen.net
I love this color portrait I found of Amelia on fiddlersgreen.net

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life.”

Amelia Earhart was someone that could be a great role model to anyone.

She was a game changer in both the field aviation and in helping women everywhere see their own potential. She set nine flying records and sold several books. All while everyone around her said a woman could never do it. She has always been a big hero of mine.

In this post I will tell you about Amelia’s accomplishments and her amazing willpower.  I hope you take away from this that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.

Amelia Earhart was born July 24th, 1987 in Atchinson, Kansas, but she did not stay there for long. She grew up very unconventionally, especially for the time, and was quite the tomboy. She spent her childhood moving from town to town a lot with her railroad attorney parents. Eventually she ended up in Toronto, Canada, where her sister lived. In Toronto Amelia took a Red Cross first aid course and enlisted as a Nurse’s Aid tending to soldiers during World War 1. Following World War 1 Amelia returned to the states and enrolled in the premed program at Columbia University.

In her heart, though, Amelia must have heard another calling, because in 1920, after only a year at Columbia Amelia left the school and travels to New York where she went on her very first plane ride. After being up in the clouds, Amelia knew she had do it again, and was determined to take flying lessons.

The very next year, 1921, Amelia was able to buy her first plane, a bright yellow two-seater she nicknamed the “Canary”. Amelia used the Canary to set her first record, as the first woman to fly up to 14,000 feet in altitude.

In the years that followed, Amelia had some rough times. In 1924 Amelia was sick and had to be hospitalized for Chronic sinusitis. She was forced to sell the Canary and work several odd jobs, including a social worker, a teacher, and a salesperson for Kinner Airster, the same company that produced her first plane.

Then, on a cold morning in April, 1928, a fateful call was made. The man on the phone said “How would you like to be the first women to fly across the Atlantic?” With that phone call history was made. Even though Amelia was just a passenger, she and her whole team were given a parade and reception at the white house with then president, Calvin Coolidge.

Little did Amelia know, on this history making flight she would meet her future husband, George P. Putnam. Putnam also became Amelia’s manager, organizing her interviews and public appearances, booking her a luggage and clothing line, and even publishing two of her books, “The Fun of It” and “Last Flight”.

Though most of the records Amelia set were women’s records, this did not deter her. She felt she was always fighting to be seen as an equal person in a man’s world. She was quoted saying “Now and then women should do for themselves what men have already done–occasionally what men have not done–thereby establishing themselves as persons, and perhaps encouraging other women toward greater independence of thought and action.” Amelia believed every person, man and woman was capable of doing ANYTHING they set their mind to, and I think she is a great proof of that.

On June 1st 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan departed from Miami, Florida on a 29,000 mile journey that would take her around the entire world. She would be only the second person ever–and the first woman–to make this flight. By July 2nd almost three quarters of the trip had been completed. Inaccurate maps and shady weather had made the trip difficult for the pair, and their next stop, Howland Island would be the most challenging. Howland Island is only a mile and a half long and a half-mile wide. There landing would have to be perfect.

Despite constant contact with the US Coast Guard, who were stationed all around the island, Earhart and Noonan could not find their landing zone and shortly before 9 in the morning they lost communication entirely. Nothing was ever heard from them again. The U.S. government spent nearly $4 million scouring 250,000 square miles of ocean before finally calling off the search on July 19th.

On Howland Island there was a lighthouse built in Amelia Earhart’s honor. I hope you will always remember Amelia for her courage, her vision, and her ability to push the envelope in both aviation and women’s’ rights. I hope Amelia Earhart helps you to see the potential in yourself. Anything you set your mind to is possible.

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