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Rename Oakland International Airport in honor of Amelia Earhart

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Today, Monday, July 3, 2017, marks the 80th anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart as she and co-pilot Fred Noonan attempted to complete an around-the-world flight, mostly traveling along the Equator.

Amelia Earhart's disappearance in the middle of the Pacific on the night of July 2, 1937, remains a mystery waiting to be solved. Any clear remains of Earhart or her plane have yet to be found after 80 years of searching the central Pacific floor. Several conspiracies have come up as to how Amelia Earhart disappeared while trying to land on Howland Island, a tiny, flat speck of land in the central Pacific Ocean that would clearly be very hard to spot from a high altitude. Some believe Amelia veered north from Howland to the Marshall Islands, then occupied by the Japanese, and was then captured by the Japanese and imprisoned in Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. Another theory assumes Amelia's plane ran out of gas and crashed into the Pacific about 30 miles north of Howland Island, but Amelia managed to swim to an island called Nikumaroro, in the Gilbert Islands, now known as Kiribati, where it is believed that she lived as a castaway before eventually dying. Some even questioned whether Amelia survived, but that theory has been proven false.

Oakland Airport was the starting point of some of Amelia Earhart's historic flights. In 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person (man or woman) to fly solo from California to Hawaii, when she successfully completed a flight from Oakland to Honolulu. In May of 1937, Earhart and co-pilot Fred Noonan set out on an around-the-world flight from Oakland that would take them to Miami, the Caribbean, South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, and on to southeast Asia and Lae, New Guinea, where the hardest part remained: crossing the Pacific. They fueled up for the Pacific leg of the flight at Lae, and set their sights on Howland Island. Unfortunately, they never made it to Howland, and the remainder of the around-the-world flight that would have taken them to South America, Central America, Mexico, and back to Oakland, never materialized. However, 60 years later, Texas native Linda Finch completed Amelia Earhart's around-the-world flight along Amelia's exact path, dropped flowers over Howland Island in honor of Amelia, and successfully made it back to Oakland. A woman had successfully completed an around-the-world flight at its longest distance, along the Equator.

It is time to honor Amelia Earhart and her historic accomplishments, including being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, in a flight from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1928, the first person (man or woman) to fly solo from California to Hawaii in 1935, and the first woman to attempt an around-the-world flight along the longest route, the Equator, in 1937, which unfortunately she did not complete. And with Donald Trump in the White House, there could not be a better time to honor strong, courageous, inspiring, and talented heroines like Amelia Earhart. Let's rename Oakland International Airport, "Amelia Earhart Oakland International Airport"!!

Phillip Mackay, Oxnard, California

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