Good morning, it's Friday, May 21, 2021, the day of the week when I reprise quotations intended to be uplifting or educational. Today's comes from Amelia Earhart, who on this date in 1932 became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Starting in Newfoundland a day earlier, Earhart had hoped to land in Paris, but fate and lousy weather brought her red Lockheed Vega to a cow pasture on a family farm outside Derry in Northern Ireland. When a laborer at the Gallagher farm asked her where she had come from, Earhart said simply, "America."
"My curiosity got the better of me after a minute or two and I went up to the plane as well," Mrs. Gallagher recalled later. "Standing beside it was a tousled-headed girl in trousers and leather coat. She didn't seem at all excited."
Movie-star-handsome aviator Charles Lindbergh had flown the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927, but when an equally charismatic and photogenic "aviatrix" did it five years later, the world was enthralled.
"Women must try to do things as men have tried," Earhart noted in a 1937 letter to her husband, George Putnam. "They do get more glory than men for comparable feats. But, also, women get more notoriety when they crash." It was a fateful and prophetic observation for a pilot whose disappearance that same year remains a source of eternal fascination. But it's not the Amelia Earhart line I have in mind this morning.
The letter quoted above was written to Amelia Earhart's husband the day before her last flight. She wasn't trying to assure him she'd return safely -- she conceded she didn't know that -- but she explained that she was heading into danger because flying was her passion and because she felt obliged to other women to follow her heart.
"Please know that I am aware of the hazards," she wrote. "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 a challenge to others."
And that's our quote of the week.
Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.