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Amelia Earhart remembered for her strength

A look at facts, her flight, and of course all of the fame
Angela Holton
Issue date: 11/11/09 Section: Life

(some of the following information collected from MCT)

Amelia Earhart was a strong, successful woman and really a pioneer for women. She never allowed anyone to tell her she could not accomplish what she had put her mind to.

As most everyone knows Amelia is known for her dedicaiton to flying and her final flight. The last flight she ever took was attempting to fly around the world. She knew that no one had ever successfuly done it, but she just figured she'd be the first.

She disappeared during her trip never to be heard from again, but that single attempt made her a role model for young girls for years to come.

In 1932, she was the first woman to ever fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In additon, she was the first female to ever receive the Airforce Distinguished Flying Cross. Only a few women proceeding her have been able to receive the same honor.

Amelia is easy to identify with her cropped hair, which was almost unheard of at that time, tomboy appearances, and usually alwalys pictured around an airplane or on a runway. She also always had on a leather flight jacket which would keep her warm during flights in her small aircraft.

Airstrips, also known as the runway, were not the only thing she was known for during her time period.

Amelia was in the news for more than her flight though. She appeared in fashion spreads, was pals with Eleanor Roosevelt, even hawked her own line of clothing _ and (unlike today's celebs with fashion labels) actually made it with her own sewing machine.

Her clothing line was a complete failure, but to make ends meet she decided to sell things she had used, or at least claimed to have used or worn, to fans.

People could not seem to get enough of her memorablia before she had even made her incredible attempt at flying around the world.

"She was very aware of the power of publicity ... and understood that flying alone wasn't going to keep her in the public eye," notes Dorothy S. Cochrane, a curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

A new film about Earhart, starring Hilary Swank, hit theaters last weekend, and designers and store owners were ready.

The movie just refreshed everyone's memories of learning about Amelia. The movie also provides an avenue for the younger generations to be able to experience Amelia's life through Hilary Swank, who does an excellent job playing the part.

There are very few, one main news cast, where future generations have been able to experience Amelia as she was instead of just looking at pictures.

Earhart's iconic flight jacket, along with aviation-inspired accessories, seem to be everywhere, including Bloomingdale's in Manhattan, where the film's costumes are on display.

Clearly, Earhart's legend lies not just in her mysterious disappearance, but in her stylish presence, too.

"Now the plain truth about flight jackets, Aviators had various leather coats during their careers," notes Dorothy S. Cochrane, a curator for the Smithsonian Institution, which has this genuine Earhart coat on display.

"It was really cold in those planes, so most flying before World War II was done in three-quarter-length jackets," says Jacky Clyman, co-owner of Cockpit USA, which makes replicas of vintage flight gear and sponsors the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

World War II fighter planes had smaller cockpits, so jackets became cropped. "It wasn't a fashion statement," Clyman says. Long coats would "bunch up and prevent you from flying the plane correctly."

So before running out and buying a flight jacket just to keep up with the trends, stop and think about what this powerful woman accomplished. She made it three-quarters of the way around the world by herself. She set the stage for women, not only in the aviaton fields, but any field to fulfill their dreams. She made women realize that if they are determined and confident they do not have to listen to all the no's, but only to their own personal determination to say yes.

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