Her historic but tragic flight kicked off all of 75 years ago in July, but Amelia Earhart’s bold attempt to circumnavigate the globe is possibly just as resonant today as it was when she left the runway in 1937. Today, Hillary Clinton remembered the legendary aviator in a speech in Washington, D.C., during an event meant to celebrate ties to Pacific Island nations and pay tribute to Earhart.
Earhart, whose flight would have been the first circumnavigation of the globe by way of the equator in aviation history, was lauded by Clinton as a heroic figure during the rough period of the Great Depression – times that certainly resonate with current events. Clinton celebrated Earhart as a symbol of the hope and ingenuity of the United States, saying,
…Amelia Earhart may have been an unlikely heroine for a nation down on its luck, but she embodied the spirit of an America coming of age and increasingly confident, ready to lead in a quite uncertain and dangerous world. She gave people hope and she inspired them to dream bigger and bolder. When she took off on that historic journey, she carried the aspirations of our entire country with her.
Bold enterprises like Earhart’s and the Moon landing were landmark events in United States history, events that reminded people – especially kids – across the nation of what they could accomplish. Today, it is difficult to find that kind of classic American hero untainted by corruption or exploitation of some sort. Perhaps, then, Clinton is on the right track. Looking back to a woman who truly dared to challenge limitations in countless ways might be the only way to find the symbol of hope that can pull the nation out of the slump in which it is mired. Her flight may have ended in tragedy, but the bravery to dream hopefully lives on.