Happy birthday to Amelia Earhart! It was on this day back in 1897 that she was born in a small town in Kansas. At ten she saw her first airplane exhibition in Iowa at a state fair. And while it took another 11 years before she finally got behind the controls of an airplane herself, she immediately devoted herself to it, 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 pilot, Charles Lindbergh. Throughout her short career, she set records and inspired women everywhere to take to the skies, and not let social norms dictate their choices when it came to a career.
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 admitted into the USAF on equal standing to their male counterparts.
118 years after the birth of Ms. Earhart, we as women, and a country, have come far. Women are in every branch of the military, and in 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! Whether that means going thousands of feet into the air, or staying exactly where you are. Dream big, and don’t give up. Happy Birthday, Amelia!