Frank Benjamin: “We are brothers in pain!”

While most of the county freezes through one of the coldest Januaries in decades, news on the Earhart front isn’t much better here in sunny northeast Florida. Things can always be worse, of course, but that doesn’t mean I can’t complain, and in the case of the Massey Air Museum and Aerodrome, “a grass airfield on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the dream of four gentlemen with the love of aviation,” according to its website, the least I can do is register a mild protest.

If their recent behavior is any indication, the Massey management’s proclaimed “love of aviation,” which impels it to operate its facility “just like one of the thousands of small town airports of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties,” doesn’t extend to the slightest interest in or respect for the legacy of Amelia Earhart, America’s original “First Lady of Flight.” These people should be ashamed of themselves.

This set of four postage stamps issued by the Republic of the Marshall Islands in 1987 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Amelia Earhart's last flight. The stamps (clockwise from top left) are titled: "Takeoff, Lae, New Guinea, July 2, 1937; USCG Itasca at Howland Island Awaiting Earhart; Crash Landing at Mili Atoll, July 2, 1937; and Recovery of Electra by the Koshu." Frank Benjamin elarged and mounted these stamps, and they are an impressive part of his unique Earhart display.

This set of four postage stamps issued by the Republic of the Marshall Islands in 1987 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s last flight. The stamps (clockwise from top left) are titled: “Takeoff, Lae, New Guinea, July 2, 1937; USCG Itasca at Howland Island Awaiting Earhart; Crash Landing at Mili Atoll, July 2, 1937; and Recovery of Electra by the Koshu.” Frank Benjamin elarged and mounted these stamps, and they are an impressive part of his unique Earhart display.

In my most recent posting (Jan. 12, below) I wrote about Frank Benjamin’s great Earhart exhibit, and briefly described the shabby treatment he received when he went to the great trouble of bringing it to the Dec. 1, 2013, “Hangar Party” event at Massey so that the several hundred souls who attended that day might learn something true and worthwhile about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Not only was Frank roundly ignored, he was prohibited from selling his T-shirts and copies of Truth at Last. But Massey wasn’t finished rubbing Frank’s face in their contempt for the truth, and a few days ago he received, via snail mail, Massey’s latest newsletter.

“I got a newsletter from the Massey Air Museum,” Frank wrote in a Jan. 22 email, “and although they wrote up the 130 planes that flew in on December 1st, and had a page and a half (that’s right: a page and a half!) devoted to the comings and goings associated with those bush pilots who took the time to fly in, there was no mention of my Amelia
Earhart display there alongside the dining facilities in plain site of everyone! Boy, was that disappointing; what a crock! Only about a dozen took the time to view the display, but still, it was there, and I stood by it all afternoon.”  The online version of Massey’s newsletter offers only a few paragraphs and several photos of the event; once again, not a whisper about Frank’s Earhart display can be found.

But the fine people from Massey were still not finished with Frank, and had yet one more insult to add to the injuries they had inflicted on this poor man. “At the end of the newsletter there was a request for donations!” Frank wrote. “What a nerve! Yeah, right. What the Hell is the matter with some people?”

Sadly, Frank has learned the hard way exactly how the American establishment regards the truth in the Earhart case – with the utmost contempt.  To begin with, and thanks to our pathetic school system’s revisionist history curriculum, most have no clue about who Amelia was. Many others simply don’t care anymore, but most of those in positions of power and influence, even in little airports in burgs like Massey, are determined to keep a lid on the truth.  Explanations, motivations and rationalizations will vary depending on the situation, but with few exceptions the bottom line is always the same: The unpleasant truth about Amelia Earhart is not welcome here.

It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve experienced over a thousand rejections in recent years during my mostly futile attempts to get out the word about the Earhart truth.  I’ve learned who my friends are, but have also gained a few along the way.  As a result, I’m in a unique position to understand this phenomenon of establishment contempt, whether it’s encountered in radio, newspapers, at the Knoxville Convention Center or at the Massey Air Museum and Aerodrome. But getting others to understand this “pan-institutional aversion to the truth,” as I describe it in the closing chapter of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, has been nearly impossible. Frank Benjamin, I think, can now be counted among the enlightened few who really do get it. If not, he’s getting very close, based on the close of his Jan. 22 message.

“You and I are brothers in pain!” Frank wrote. “I am not sure that I understand why you do it! God Bless you, man.”

 Brothers in pain, indeed.  

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