326. Amelia Earhart: America's Lost Heroine

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There is perhaps no greater mystery in the annals of American history as that of the Amelia Earhart story. Earhart's story is one of controversy, and intriguing. She was an accomplished aviator, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo. She accomplished this during a time when women were not highly regarded in the United States. American women during the 1930s did not have the same advantages men had. There were few employment opportunities. Educated women were a scarcity. Women who did find employment during this era were working as grade-school teachers, nannies, and maids for the most part. Amelia Earhart did a lot to change that perception.

Although Earhart was born into a family that did see financial success, but that success was fleeting. There were times in her life when her family struggled to make ends meet because of poor money management. Earhart was home schooled for most of her life, and she gained her pilots license at an early age. In December of 1920, Earhart's father took Amelia to an airshow in Long Beach, California. This is where she first became interested in flying. After earning her aviator's license, she accomplished a feat that only a few men had ever done: flying solo across the Atlantic. She earned national fame for this and was soon a household name.

Tragically, Earhart was lost in an attempt to fly around the world in 1937. She was never found. The theories about how she met her end are countless. Many think she fell victim to the Japanese prior to the start of World War II. This thinking was rooted in the idea that Earhart was a spy. Other outlandish theories include alien kidnapping, but most likely she had mechanical difficulties flying over the Pacific Ocean. Earhart was either killed instantly, or survived, according to one popular theory, and lived out her days on a deserted island.

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