By Charlene Shields
Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."
Copyright ©2001 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."
As a child I was a great admirer of Amelia Earhart. Sixty-four years
this month, Amelia Earhart took off on an around-the-world flight.
Later, many people became convinced this was a cover-up to see if she
could find out how far along the Japanese were in their plans to drop
bombs on Pearl Harbor and/or Santa Barbara Island and San Francisco Bay.
A slim, boyish figure--no one would have dreamed Amelia Earhart would
soon be 40--she moved with long, free strides toward her plane. She set
a fashion trend with her trousers, shirt opened at the throat to show a
bright scarf, a sweater worn over the shirt, and walking shoes and wool
socks. Her helmet and goggles swung from her arm as she strode along. No
other woman had dressed like that before, but plenty of them did
Her flying partner was Fred Noonan.
At the time their plane disappeared, it was said they were "off course"
in trying to land at a new airfield on Howland Island. According to some
later investigators, the Japanese caught her over Saipan, didn't believe
her tale, captured and did what all nations do and will do as long as
there are wars or rumors of wars--they executed her.
Decades later, some reporters saw the secret files of the United States
Navy and only then learned the true mission of Amelia Earhart and Fred
Perhaps Amelia Earhart took as much joy in flying as anyone who has
flown. She piled up records--the Atlantic, the Pacific, cross-continents, etc.
She knew flying was the wave of the future. She
once remarked to a reporter, "It says that we abide in the place of the
Most High. So the higher we are, maybe the better we abide? Your
children will never remember that there was a time when we didn't
fly.... It's not just that it's more beautiful, more godlike, to see all
its wonders from the air, but it's all God's world and worlds opening up
to us, all new."
According to the reporters who believe Amelia Earhart was on a mission,
somewhere still in the files of the United States Navy is the full,
complete story of Amelia Earhart, probably never to be fully revealed,
about sending our "lady flyer" on a spying mission on May 20, 1937.
Sixty-four years later, the story of this glamorous lady and her flying
still fascinates me.
The Genealogy Library is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 to 2.
Address letters to Genealogy, White County Historical Society, PO Box
121, Carmi, IL 62821.
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