Happy birthday to Amelia Earhart! It was on this day back in 1897 that she was born in a small town in Kansas, and saw her first airplane exhibition at the age of ten in Iowa at a state fair. It took another 11 years before she finally got behind the controls of an airplane herself, but from the moment she began, she devoted herself to it entirely, and become the 16th woman in the world to get a pilot’s license.
And while she was not the first woman to get her pilot’s license, she quickly became the world’s most famous female pilot, earning the nickname “Lady Lindy” for her aviation prowess comparable to the famous male pilot, Charles Lindbergh. And throughout her-sadly short-career, she set records and inspired women everywhere not only to take to the skies if they so chose, but to not let social norms dictate their choices when it came to a career.
And her legacy lived on after her disappearance as women swarmed to join the military efforts of World War II, though the Air Force itself was not a formal body until after the War was over. By 1948 Women had their own air force affiliation, the Women of the Air Force or WAF. This organization remained intact until 1976 when women were finally admitted into the USAF on a completely equal standing to their male counterparts.
118 years after the birth of Ms. Earhart, we as women, and as a country, have come so far. Women are in every branch of the military, and all over the skies as commercial pilots and in the Air Force. And if there’s anything to be taken away from the amazing life of Amelia Earhart, it’s to follow your dreams, no matter where they take you, whether that means going thousands of feet into the air, all the way across the world, or keeps you exactly where you are. Dream big, and don’t give up. Happy Birthday, Amelia!