Optimism is the foundation of courage. Courage is one of the most used terms to describe one who undergoes acts of bravery to overcome fear, from everyday people to historical figures. Courage can mean anything from standing up for yourself, to serving your country; fighting for freedom and being away from your family so that others can be with theirs. It is pleasing to know that courage has such a broad definition, but is our personal endeavors that truly give it meaning.
Amelia Earhart is a familiar historical woman, known for her individuality and character in regards to her love of aviation. However, her acts of courage did not begin with aviation, and did not awaken until her mid twenties. Her father, Edwin Earhart struggled with work related issues, and felt that he failed to provide for his family. As a result, he began to drink and became an alcoholic to say the least. Being separated from her father at such a young age, Amelia pushed through her family’s hard times, and worked to be an independent woman by training as a nurse’s aide, and serving as a voluntary aid detachment at a military hospital for about a year.
After embracing this opportunity, Amelia said, “There for the first time I realized what the World War meant. Instead of new uniforms and brass bands, I saw only the result of four years’ desperate struggle; men without arms and legs, men who were paralyzed and men who were blind…” She furthered her experience by enrolling as a medical student, and after only a year, was reconnected with her father on account of her mother being reunited with him.
After considering the unreliability of planes in the early days of aviation, Amelia knew she could be subject to struggle, or even fail at flying, due to unreliable engines and lethargic planes. Disregarding most people’s beliefs, she felt the fear and prospered anyway, setting altitude records, and record breaking attempts. She then later dedicated all her time and invested whatever funds she had into a business that would build an airport and market airplanes. Amelia took full advantage of this opportunity to promote flying, exclusively for women. Her adventure took off when Captain H. H. Railey asked her to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.
Although she was only a passenger on this flight, she then later attended and assisted many flights, created an organization for aspiring female pilots, and broke a record for the longest non-stop flight flown by a woman. With others doubting her desires, Amelia endured flights inwhich other pilots had failed to complete. Throughout these times, she formulated a plan to fly around the world. After a failed first attempt and severe damage to her plane, it was repaired and a second attempt was made that same year. With plane complications and being struck with illness, Amelia and fellow passenger Fred Noonan did not complete the flight. It is unknown the whereabouts of the location, but many myths have been concluded on where the plane went down and the events that occurred after.
After receiving many letters from Amelia, George Putnam, a New York publisher, published a book in memory of Amelia, quoting her dedication. “Please know I am quite aware of the hazards…I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” These words truly make Amelia Earhart a courageous historical figure. Her aspiration to go above and beyond what others doubted revealed that she showed strength in the face of fear.