Amelia Earhart once said, “Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.”
Eighty years ago today, Earhart took flight on a dangerous quest: To become the first person, man or woman, to complete a solo flight over any part of the Pacific Ocean. It took Amelia a total of 18 hours to cover 24,000 miles, but she touched down in Oakland Airport where she was greeted by thousands of admirers.
Amelia Earhart has since become remembered in two ways.
First, as a fearless pioneer in aviation, someone who refused to be limited by the social mores of her time in terms of how women were expected to behave.
Exploration and historical feats were traditionally heavily masculine territory during her lifetime, but no one told Amelia. She was likewise ahead of her time in how she married, insisting on equal footing with her husband, George P. Putnam.
A letter written by Amelia to Putnam only served to drive this point home, especially in terms of “faithfulness.”
“On our life together I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any midaevil (sic) code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. If we can be honest I think the difficulties which arise may best be avoided should you or I become interested deeply (or in passing) in anyone else.
Please let us not interfere with the others’ work or play, nor let the world see our private joys or disagreements.”
Her bold image paid off, and she was often compared to Charles Lindbergh.
However, Amelia Earhart’s indomitable spirit led her to be remembered in another way: As a woman who set out to fly around the globe and was never heard from again.
The cruelty of it all was how close Amelia was to completing her goal. She’d practically made her away around the planet. But in the end, Amelia Earhart was not destined to be remembered for traveling around the world, but instead for vanishing.
Though the world may remain fixated on the one flight that went horribly wrong, today at least, Amelia Earhart should be remembered for an important mission that ended as a historical success.
[Image Credit: Naked Science]