Another July 24 has arrived, and had she somehow lived to this day, Amelia Mary Earhart, born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897 to Amy Otis and Edwin Stanton Earhart, would be celebrating her 124 years old. (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
Some certainly have lived this long, and much longer if Old Testament Biblical history is accurate. But if Amelia had escaped the wretched fate the prewar Japanese military on Saipan cooked up for her, her lifespan would likely have been similar to her genetically endowed younger sister, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey, affectionately known to Amelia as “Pidge,” who passed away at age 98 in March 1998. Most importantly, Amelia lives on in the hearts of real, freedom-loving Americans, and so we celebrate another First Lady of Flight’s birthday.
This season has been particularly lacking in any Earhart-related news, which is a good thing. All the usual parasites seem to be taking a breather in 2021, and neither the Earhart leeches nor the media care about Amelia’s birthday, much less in the truth. This leaves it with us, or most of it, anyway.
In Atchison, Kansas, where the facts about the horrific fates of the doomed fliers are labeled lunatic fringe “conspiracy theory” when it’s considered at all, the tone-deaf members of the “Amelia Earhart Committee” have again capitulated to the Covid lie that’s turned half the nation into cowering hysterics.
The Atchison Globe announcement on March 10, 2021 that the “AE Committee cancels Amelia Earhart Festival for 2021,” marks the second straight year the benighted citizens of Atchison have caved to the irrational terror created by the ghoul Tony Fauci and his CDC minions over a bug that 99.8 percent of the population survives easily, according to the CDC’s own inflated numbers. “The safety and well-being of volunteers and all who would attend are the highest priority,” according to a news release from chief surrender monkey Jacque Pregont, AE Festival Coordinator. Once again, it’s the short end of the stick for Amelia, who, in this age of Covid-obsessed panic, gets no respect even in her own birthplace.
To review the events and the state of the current zeitgeist for several recent Earhart birthdays, please see “July 24, 2012: Happy Birthday, Amelia; July 23, 2014, “For Amelia Earhart, another unhappy birthday;” “July 24, 2017: Happy Birthday, Amelia;” and my July 24, 2019 post, “For Amelia Earhart, it’s Happy Birthday No. 122!”
Since 2017, the only decent, consistent news about Amelia Earhart has come from Saipan, where my friend Marie Castro, now 88, continues her apparently hopeless campaign to erect an Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument at the site of the great flier’s wretched demise. I’ve written often and passionately about Marie’s selfless devotion to the truth, and we’re blessed that this unique woman has the fortitude to stand up and demand justice in a world where lies, greed and cowardice predominate.
Today, Marie and her small, devoted group, the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc. (AEMMI), paid their respects to Amelia and Fred Noonan in a modest celebration at the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Museum. Following a public greeting by Manny F. Borja, Marie began addressing the attendees with the following prepared remarks:
“The Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument”
by Marie Castro, President of the AEMMI Inc.
In 2019, we initiated Amelia’s 122nd birthday celebration for the first time on Saipan in the CNMI.
It has been four years since the inception of this project to build a Memorial Monument to commemorate the two heroes, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan.
I believe that any unusual, significant event that took place on land, either political or non-political, pleasant, or unpleasant should be recorded in the history of that place. Or do we continue to sit and ignore such a significant event on Saipan in 1937?
Most of our people of Saipan do not know the story, perhaps a few have read stories written about Amelia’s plane that came down in the Pacific and disappeared and was believed to be a mystery. But the disappearance and death of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan is not a mystery, the true evidence is found here on Saipan. Our elders’ accounts of what they witnessed of the two fliers’ presence on Saipan were extremely significant and true accounts. Josephine Blanco Akiyama was the first Chamorro woman who saw Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan at Tanapag Harbor.
In 1960, Fred Goerner, a San Francisco radio newsman, visited Saipan four times and interviewed about 200 Chamorros about the two American fliers. A few of the witnesses interviewed by Goerner and later by others were Manuel Aldan, Jesus Salas, Antonio Cepada, Carlos Palacios, Gregorio Camacho, Jesus Boyer and Francisco Tudela. Except for Manuel Aldan who heard the name “Earnhardt,” all described the American woman as having short hair and wearing a man’s outfit. The closest contacts with Amelia Earhart, who I myself knew and interviewed, were Matilde F. Arriola, her sister Consolacion and Joaquina M. Cabrera who washed Amelia’s clothes. Jose Sadao Tomokane attended the cremation of Amelia Earhart.
We understand the reluctance and hesitations in our community about building a memorial monument to Amelia Earhart on Saipan; we know very well the doubts in peoples’ mind, and we respect everyone’s opinions and beliefs. But the truth can’t be changed to suit people’s whims or political preferences.
Our culture is deeply rooted in religious ceremony caring for family relatives and individual who departed from us giving the final honor he or she deserves.
Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan sadly met their tragic ends on Saipan, and the fliers have never been given any such honor as human beings. Let us be the first to initiate this recognition as a human community to celebrate their end on July 24, 2021 at the CNMI Museum, celebrating the birthday of Amelia Earhart.
Marie S. C. Castro
Following Marie’s birthday address, the local Marianas High School Choral & Canon group performed the classic hymns “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.” After Rev. Michael D. Linden, S.J.’s invocation, he shared early memories of his father telling him about Amelia Earhart.
Next Marie and Mr. Borja treated the gathering to a dual-recitation of a poem, “To Amelia Earhart: The Woman That You Are,” recently composed by Marie, which they read in both English and Chamorro:
“TO AMELIA EARHART: THE WOMAN THAT YOU ARE”
The woman that you are,
A role model for us
The path for the truth
By the bravery of your heart.
Always trail blazing,
Looking for adventure
Determined to accomplish,
The goal finally conquered.
Navigating your plane
On toward the Atlantic
Following on to the Pacific
A destination you found.
Unclear on the intent
Of your arrival location
Such unfortunate destination
With Fred Noonan, your beloved friend
You were taken by force,
By the Japanese soldiers
To the island of Saipan
Out of your free will
A deserving recognition
Patiently have waited,
Eight decades of uncertainty
An acknowledgement finally accomplished,
Facing a perilous journey
Unknown to your strength
Bravely endured to the end,
For the love of your country.
More music followed, as the Marianas High School Chorale & Canon performed “I’ll be There” and group member Donato Santiago sang “You Raise Me Up.”
Finally, Marianas High School teacher Gina Aquilar led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” to guest of honor Amelia Earhart, whose life was so tragically cut short on Saipan so long ago, a prewar Japanese atrocity that the U.S. government refuses to acknowledge to this day.
Happy Birthday, Amelia, wherever you are!
Update: On July 26, Saipan’s newspaper Marianas Variety published a story about Marie Castro and the AEMMI’s July 24 event, “Group commemorates Amelia Earhart’s 124th birthday,” by reporters Emmanuel T. Erediano and Bryan Manabat. To read, please click here.
On July 26, Saipan TV did a report on the AEMMI’s July 24 Earhart celebration. To watch, please click here and forward to 16:30.
July is Amelia Earhart’s month, for those of us who still honor the memory of this great American, and we don’t forget Fred Noonan, Amelia’s intrepid navigator whose sad destiny was inextricably bound to her own.
July 2 is the 84th anniversary of Earhart and Noonan’s fateful takeoff from Lae, New Guinea in 1937, officially bound for Howland Island, 2,556 miles distant, a tiny speck in the Pacific, never flown before and the most difficult leg of their world-flight attempt. What happened that compelled the fliers to land their Electra 10E off Barre Island at Mili Atoll, about 850 miles to the north-northwest, twenty-some hours later, remains the true mystery in the Earhart disappearance. All else is smoke, mirrors and endless lies.
No missing-persons case has ever been as misreported and misunderstood. As I’ve said and written countless times, the widely accepted canard that the Earhart disappearance remains among the 20th century’s “greatest mysteries” is a vile, abject lie, the result of eight decades of government-media propaganda aimed at perpetuating public ignorance about the fliers’ wretched ends at the hands of the pre-war Japanese military on Saipan. Considering the lengths to which the U.S. government has gone to obscure, cover-up and deny the truth, it appears this state of affairs will persist until the Last Day. At that time, many will have much to answer for.
To review some of the anniversary articles posted here in past Julys, please see my 77th anniversary post of June 24, 2014; “July 2, ’17: 80 years of lies in the Earhart ‘Mystery’ ”; or last year’s story, “July 2020: Earhart forgotten amid nation’s chaos.”
As for any Earhart news, this year is among the quietest in memory — virtually nothing is happening, at least to my knowledge. A pair of pathetic cranks are claiming they’ve found the Earhart plane just off Nikumaroro and have even started a website with strange, inscrutable photos and nonsensical gibberish.
No one in the mainstream media — or anywhere else — has paid a gnat’s worth of attention to the latest crap, and I won’t dignify this absurd, backhanded swipe at TIGHAR’s 30-plus years of propagandizing and fruitless searching off and on Nikumaroro by linking it here. You certainly don’t need to know about it, but if you insist, you can search under “Road to Amelia Earhart” and you’ll find it unless it’s already been circular filed under “lies no one will believe.” I only mention it because things are so currently comatose in Earhartland, and this latest is more proof that nature abhors a vacuum.
The below cartoon from the Kansas City Star goes back to early 1994, but its misplaced humor perfectly captures the zeitgeist that’s always defined the Earhart matter. Far from being one of history’s “most perplexing questions,” as an angel explains to a newly arrived soul, the truth about the loss of Amelia Earhart is well-known and one of the most precious sacred cows in the corrupt archives of the U.S. national security apparatus.
On a rare positive note, Polish author and publisher Sławomir M. Kozak recently informed me about his forthcoming book, Requiem for Amelia Earhart, which will introduce the Polish people to the truth about the Earhart disappearance. Requiem is scheduled for publication on Sept. 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of possibly America’s greatest betrayal, another sacred cow whose truth has eluded as many Americans as the Earhart cover-up, and another subject that the erudite Slawomir has studied closely. His website is www.oficyna-aurora.pl.
On July 24, Marie Castro and the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc. (AEMMI) will get together on Saipan to celebrate Amelia’s 124th Birthday, and I’ll have photos and comments when that time rolls around.
If ever a story published on this blog needed an update, it’s my March 15 post, “Marshall seeking final proof on “Earhart’s Packard.” I really stepped in this one, and so will now attempt to extricate myself from this muck, not only to debunk yet another false Earhart claim, but also to warn others who might be adversely affected in the future.
I wasn’t initially skeptical about Ross Marshall’s assertion that his 1935 Packard Super 8 Coupe once belonged to Amelia Earhart. Some readers even could have understood my post as an flat-out, unadulterated promo supporting his boast about his car’s unique status as an Earhart heirloom, or even that Marshall and I are friends, which is absolutely not the case. “I’ve agreed to further air Marshall’s story,” I wrote in my March 15 post, “in the hope that he can somehow find the final proof the Packard was indeed Amelia’s, and thus increase its value and prestige,” which was Marshall’s stated goal from the jump.
Actually the car wasn’t my main concern. Marshall had contacted Marie Castro and expressed interest in helping her with the Earhart Memorial Monument project on Saipan, and my first instinct was to support her and the AEMMI. “As you can see,” I wrote in conclusion — and here was my extremely stupid misstatement, which certainly could have been taken as an endorsement: “I have a personal interest in Mr. Marshall’s final success in nailing down his Packard as Earhart’s, about which no one should have any doubt to begin with. Should that happen, we have his pledge that he would build the AEMMI monument ‘personally.’ ” (Italics added.)
Other than his potential contribution to the Saipan Earhart Monument, I didn’t care whether Marshall sold his car at any price. But more importantly, I’ve never intentionally perpetrated any false claims about Amelia Earhart or anyone else. Regrettably, I briefly suspended this ethical imperative in my haste to assist Marie Castro and her worthy cause. This work has never been about money for me; my integrity and reputation are not for sale, and I’ve never knowingly written or uttered a lie in my Earhart work since my introduction to the story in 1988.
I soon experienced the truth of the old adage, “No good deed goes unpunished,” and not for the first time. Longtime reader, pilot and friend William Trail quickly disabused me of any illusions I had about Marshall’s so-called “AE Packard.”
“I’ve been chewing away on this and I’m highly skeptical of this whole Packard thing,” Trail wrote in a March 16 email and comment to this blog. “Something’s just not right.” Trail continued:
Ross Marshall alleges that the president of the Packard Motor Company (PMC) gifted AE a 1935 Packard Super 8 Coupe in February 1935. Although not named by Marshall, the president of PMC at the time was James Alvan Macauley. Macauley was president from 1916 to 1939. At the time of the alleged gifting, AE and GP were residing in Rye, N.Y. Therefore, upon transfer to AE the vehicle would be registered to her in New York. I would think that a check of the motor vehicle records for 1935 archived by the Commonwealth of New York Department of Motor Vehicles would be worth doing.
On 28 July 1935, AE and GP purchased a home and moved to 10042 Valley Spring Lane in North Hollywood, Calif. If they possessed a 1935 Packard Super 8 Coupe it stands to reason that the vehicle would then be re-registered in California. A check with the California DMV for archived vehicle registrations is worth looking into as well.
In the back of his book, Legerdemain [Saga Books, 2007], David K. Bowman provides a detailed, almost day-by-day account of AE’s life. There is nothing for February 1935 about AE being gifted a Packard automobile, or having a photo op with the president of Packard — both fairly significant events if they actually happened. I don’t see something that newsworthy falling through the cracks and being “lost to history.” It would be the same if the Ford Motor Company had gifted a 1968 Mustang GT to Steve McQueen, and it wasn’t publicized. No way!
Then, there is America’s Packard Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Robert Signom III is Curator. . . . I would think that if Packard gifted AE a Super 8 Coupe the curator of America’s Packard Museum would surly know about it. I would also think that Mr. Marshall would have contacted him by now. The museum was easy enough to find. It didn’t require Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe. I did it this morning.
I wrote to Mr. Signom at Dayton’s American Packard Museum, which is now “temporarily closed,“ and got no reply. Another museum, the National Packard Museum, referred me to an expert in New York, but the email address they provided rejected my message and he hasn’t replied to the snail mail I sent.
I joined a Packard information forum on March 17. My query has received 665 views to date, ostensibly from Packard experts and enthusiasts, and not a shred of evidence has been forthcoming to support either Earhart’s connection to the 1935 Packard or that the two fires described by Marshall ever occurred. I did learn that Marshall himself is associated with at least one well-known contributor to this Packard Information site, who informed him about my query to the forum. This may be why I’ve heard nothing of substance from this bunch, as Marshall’s Packard has apparently been accepted on the site as once belonging to Earhart, basically on Marshall’s say-so. Sometimes no reply is itself an answer.
Considering the dystopian nightmares the California and New York state governments have become, I don’t want to get involved with their DMVs and don’t believe it’s necessary. I’m certain I’d find nothing if I ever gained access to reliable records, and the fact that Marshall has not mentioned them as two agencies that would support his story tells us plenty about his credibility, or lack of same.
Marshall’s statement that “we can confirm . . . AE and The President of Packard were pictured together is Manhattan New York in Feb 1935, announcing the new Packard range of Automobiles for 1935” is his only claim that can verified, as the above photo testifies, although the president of Packard is not named in the caption. Marshall has nothing more than this, an accidental confluence between the Packard company and Amelia Earhart, yet he’s bent on transforming his 1935 Packard into a cash cow and a fat payday through sheer effrontery and chutzpah, more commonly known as BS.
“Marshall’s story is a load of bull,” William Trail wrote in a March 19 email. “AE’s life has been so meticulously researched, minutely scrutinized, and painstakingly documented, that if James Alvan Macauley, President of Packard Motor Cars had authorized a specially built automobile to be gifted to her there is no question in my mind that we’d know about it. Packard aficionados would know about it. It would be well documented.”
Among the experts I’ve contacted in search of their informed opinions is one Arthur Einstein, author of Ask the Man Who Owns One”: An Illustrated History of Packard Advertising (McFarland; 1st edition September 2, 2010). Most of the Packard historians I’ve contacted have not seen fit to answer my queries, but Trail bought the Kindle edition of Ask the Man on March 21, and spent the afternoon “pouring through the relevant chapters covering the 1920s up to the 1950s,” he said. “I also carefully reviewed the Chapter Notes, Bibliography, and Index. Bottom line: No mention of Amelia Earhart whatsoever.”
Two catastrophic, record-destroying fires?
My BS alarm was not functioning the day I read Marshall’s first email to me, as it should have loudly screamed upon reading his two incredible whoppers below. Subsequent research showed that no evidence whatever exists for these two statements Marshall presented to explain the lack of documentation linking Earhart and the Packard:
The sad part about the critical documented history of our Packard was No. 1, The Department of Roads in Dallas had a fire in the early ’50’s which destroyed all the files and records of ownership of The City beyond the early forties. The late ’40s title we hold shows the last time our car was registered was 1948, the original license plates are still on our car to this day!
Then, No. 2, we have the history of The Packard Motor Company with a similar problem. It appears when Packard was amalgamating with Studebaker in the late 60’s the two opposing Sales Directors had such a dislike for each other, the Packard man destroyed by fire, all the build records and buyers of Packard going back more than 50 years of corporate history!
As stated above, I find no evidence supporting these alleged fires. Was Marshall repeating stories told to him by the Dallas judge, who he does not identify, or did he invent these two ridiculous yarns on his own? I don’t know, and it makes little difference. These stories are phony as a three-dollar bill, I should have called him out on them, and the more I looked at this, the more embarrassing it became. Not only that, the Dallas judge segment of Marshall’s story is irrelevant, as William Trail pointed out in a March 19 email:
Marshall’s story about documentation obtained from the Texas judge is inconsistent. The excuse that there was a fire at that destroyed records in Dallas has no bearing. It is a misdirection, a dodge. Official Texas motor vehicle documentation would not establish AE’s ownership of the vehicle. Archived New York and California DMV records would be the logical place to look. Marshall hasn’t done that because he knows his claim is false. Likewise, Marshall’s claim that the Packard records that would prove his claim were deliberately burned is also a misdirection.
Longtime Packard expert Dwight Heinmuller, of Sparks, Md., a Packard historian and co-author of Packard: A History of the Motorcar and Company (Automobile Quarterly, 1978), joined Trail in rejecting Marshall’s claims that fires have destroyed all evidence that his car once belonged to Earhart.
“The owners claim that Studebaker-Packard was formed in the 1960s and that two employees hated each other and destroyed files, etc.,” Heinmuller wrote in a March 20 email:
All of that is nonsense. S-P was formed in October 1954. There were no clashes between employees at that level that would have resulted in files being destroyed! Records were NOT destroyed. Further, only the dealer would have records as to whom cars were sold except for factory delivered cars. Those records may exist but their whereabouts is unknown.
It appears to me that there is no way to confirm that AE owned this Packard unless some document(s) is produced for verification. So, anyone that says this was AE’s Packard cannot prove it, so why perpetuate the rumor? I remember seeing this and thought at the time that these people’s claims are questionable.”
I’ve contacted more than a handful of authors and other experts in seeking some dispositive statements that might put this issue to rest. Thus far, only Heinmuller has been civil enough to respond. Some of these automotive history types are rude elitists who refuse to soil themselves by mixing with a “conspiracy theorist,” while others may consider the answer to the question about Earhart’s alleged ownership so obvious that it requires no confirmation — maybe both apply! For whatever reasons, that aspect of the basic research hasn’t been easy, but in the end the truth requires no snooty verification. Neither William Trail nor I have found a single reference that places a 1935 Packard in Amelia Earhart’s name, or any Packard of any year, for that matter. This itself is definitive.
On March 19, Trail found more helpful data on the Packard Information site whose forum I discussed above. Buried among numerous photos of infinite Packard-repair minutiae is the brass date plate from Ross Marshall’s 1935 Packard Super 8 Coupe. The photo quality isn’t good, but the vehicle number is 858 230, and it was delivered by Packard to Dallas, Texas on Feb. 2, 1935.
“If this automobile was built especially for AE, why would Packard ship it to Dallas?” Trail asked. “Why wouldn’t the data plate indicate that this vehicle was built especially for AE as Marshall claims it was?”
Unmentioned until now, but far from the least of countless discrepancies is Marshall’s claim that “Our Packard has her ‘AE’ initials still permanently displayed today,” yet he’s offered no photo to support that contention. Moreover, even if the “AE” were somewhere on the car, anyone could have put it there, least of all Earhart herself, who was not the type to do such a thing. An entirely accurate description of this entire tawdry matter isn’t appropriate for a family blog like this, but Marshall’s contentions add up to a huge, steaming pile of you know what.
Finally, as a condition of my writing and publishing Marshall’s story, and not contingent on selling his car or results of any kind, he pledged to make a donation to the AEMMI when the March 15 story went up on this blog. In a March 18 email to Marie Castro, Marshall told her that it is “impossible to do business overseas these days when you are attempting to do a cash transfer.” He then promised to send her a check “via registered mail in a few days.” Marie, ever hopeful, is still waiting. *
Clearly, Marshall thinks that Marie and I are morons, and he was right about me, at least briefly. Whether he is a con man or simply a naive victim himself — can we even consider the latter a possibility? — is irrelevant in the end. He’s abused Marie Castro’s goodwill and mine as well — not to mention our readers’ time and attention. As I told Marie as this sordid incident was playing itself out, “This Ross Marshall is some piece of work.
* On May 12 Marie informed me that she had received a generous check from Marshall, a pleasant surprise for this writer. “I believe in “Being patient, good things take time,” Marie wrote in an email.
Saipan’s Marie Castro is well known to readers of this blog, and I won’t repeat the myriad details of the many stories I’ve posted about this brave woman. Though she was only 4 years old in 1937 when Amelia Earhart came ashore at Saipan’s Tanapag Harbor with Fred Noonan as captives of the Japanese military, Marie later came to know and interview several eyewitnesses to the presence and deaths of Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.
On Nov. 16, Marie, now 87, appeared on “1001 Heroes, Legends, Histories and Mysteries” podcast with Jon Hagadorn. To listen please click here and scroll down to “The Shocking Truth: Marie Castro Recalls Stories of Amelia Earhart’s 1937 Captivity on Saipan.”
“I have been receiving good responses from people who heard the interview about Amelia Earhart,” Marie wrote in a Nov. 17 email. “Thank you kindly for referring me to Jon so we could reach more people in learning what really happened to the two fliers. I tried my best to answer Jon’s questions during the interview although I missed two or three minor details. I am satisfied for bringing out the real truth of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan’s presence on Saipan in 1937.”
In September 2021, Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc. (AEMMI), the group Marie founded on Saipan, will mark its fourth anniversary, but despite its best efforts to educate Saipan’s limited populace, scant progress has been made toward erecting a monument to the famed aviatrix and her navigator who became perhaps the first casualties of World War II during their captivity on Saipan in 1937.
Barely a dent has been made in the estimated $200,000 price tag for the monument, and local officials have yet to designate a small plot of land for the monument’s location. The resistance on Saipan to the monument is overwhelming, and I’ve written about this insidious problem at length on this blog and in the Marianas Variety (Micronesia’s Leading Newspaper Since 1972).
A bit closer on the horizon, in February 2021, another opportunity for Marie and the AEMMI to bring their Earhart Memorial Monument proposal to public attention looms. The 5th Marianas History Conference, co-organized by the University of Guam, Northern Marianas College, Northern Marianas Humanities Council, Humanities Guåhan, Guampedia, and Guam Preservation Trust, will be held virtually from Feb. 19-26, 2021 and will feature on-site venues in the CNMI and Guam for select, conference-related events and presentations. Here’s more about this event, straight from their official online promotion (boldface emphasis theirs):
The 5th Marianas History Conference invites scholars, students, and individuals with oral history knowledge of events and people in the Marianas to submit a brief abstract of a paper or presentation that contributes to the many stories that define the history and identity of one archipelago.
The conference theme, One Archipelago, Many Stories: Navigating 500 Years of Cross-Cultural Contact, calls for participants to examine aspects related to history, cultural heritage, language, political status, demographic change, and the overall process of adaptation of the Mariana Islands and her people following Western contact.
In 1521, half a millennium ago, the people of the Mariana Islands had the first known encounter with people from the other side of the world, through the Spanish expedition of Ferdinand Magellan. Those first, complex interactions triggered a number of consequences for our islands: being placed in world maps, the visits in succeeding years by other explorers, and eventually an intense process of colonization that in some respects continues to this day in Guam and in other parts of the Pacific.
I may be biased, but what could be more fitting for this Marianas “History Conference” than to designate the heretofore unacknowledged presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan during the years leading up to World War II as the No. 1 item for discussion? More than likely, however, the eight decades of corrupt politics surrounding the Earhart sacred cow will militate heavily against any meaningful mention of the Earhart case at this “virtual” event, regardless of anything Marie and the AEMMI do to create interest. I hope I’m wrong, but so far I’m batting 1.000 in predicting developments — or lack of same — on Saipan.
“This is the first time also I’ve learned about this event,” the ever-optimistic Marie wrote in a Nov. 23 email. “I told Frances [Mary Sablan, AEMMI vice president] that we need to take any occasion to expose the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument project. The committee is enthusiastic about it. This strategy serves in educating the whole island about Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.”
With that in mind, Marie has sent the required 200-word abstract on behalf of the AEMMI to the board and staff of the Northern Marianas Humanities Council for their consideration. I won’t be holding my breath, but as always, will be hoping and praying for a merciful break in the constant flood of irrational resistance to the long-overdue establishment of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan.
To contribute to the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan (see March 16, 2018 story), please make your tax-deductible check payable to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950. The monument’s success is 100 percent dependent on private donations, and everyone who gives will receive a letter of appreciation from the Earhart Memorial Committee.
It’s late July again, when thousands of the uninformed flock to Atchison, Kansas for the annual Amelia Earhart Festival, where the “Great Aviation Mystery” is renewed and celebrated. The only questions the sheeple ask are whether Amelia’s Electra 10E crashed and sank off Howland Island or landed on Nikumaroro, where she starved to death, along with navigator Fred Noonan, on an atoll teeming with natural food and water sources.
I sometimes imagine that some of the benighted at these Atchison shindigs actually hope that, just maybe, she’s still flying around out there in the timeless ether, searching endlessly for a way back to 1937 America — an eternal, romantic enigma without solution. That may be an exaggeration, but it’s no stretch to say that wherever PC and groupthink predominate, as in Atchison, the hated truth is assiduously avoided, and can be found only in the darkest corners, where vile conspiracy theorists speak in hushed tones about the despised “Japanese Capture Theory” that so intimidates all but the boldest Earhart truth seekers.
Once again we’ve reached another Earhart birthday, this one Amelia’s 122nd. It’s hard to say how long America’s First Lady of Flight might have lived had her remarkable life not been so cruelly stolen from her by a wretched combination of circumstances that have yet to be fully understood, but I can’t imagine Amelia would still be with us at 122, though she would have given it her best shot, you can be sure.
Amelia came from hardy genes indeed, if her mother and sister were any indications. Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey, of West Medford, Massachusetts, two-and-a-half-years younger than Amelia, died in her sleep on March 2, 1998 at the age of 98. Amy Otis Earhart, Amelia’s mother, was born in 1869 and died in 1962 at 93.
As is usually the case when Amelia’s birthday rolls around, the only Earhart-related news in America is about plans for more TV productions, more deceitful documentaries and specials by the true conspiracy theorists, who have only one goal in mind, besides ratings and dollars, of course, and that is to keep the same kind of gullible people who yearly flock to Atchison clueless about the truth. I will spare you the boring and meaningless details, which will be known and forgotten soon enough.
Amelia Mary Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897 to Amy Otis and Edwin Stanton Earhart. Edwin, an itinerant lawyer and faithful husband, was also “a drunkard,” according to biographer Mary Lovell (The Sound of Wings, 1989), but Amelia’s childhood was nonetheless nearly idyllic.
Alfred Otis, Amy’s father, was a wealthy judge, and it was hard on the banks of the Missouri River in the home of Judge Otis and her grandmother, Amelia Josephine Harres, that Amelia came into the world.
Growing up in nearby Kansas City, Kansas, Amelia’s adventurous persona manifested early. Amelia (“Meelie”), and Muriel, or “Pidge” were close, “lived in reasonable comfort, unaware of any financial constraints” and were secure and happy despite occasional problems resulting from their father’s uneven professional life.
As we see in the early pages of another fine biography, Amelia, My Courageous Sister (1987), by Muriel Earhart Morrissey and Carol L. Osborne, Amelia was a consummate tomboy. At 7 she rode an elephant at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair and was fascinated by the small cars that sped around an aerial track, though her mother said it was too dangerous for little girls to ride them. Soon after the family returned home, Amelia enlisted her uncle Carl Otis to help her, Muriel and the boy next door build a makeshift roller coaster in their back yard, with its starting point at the top of the tool shed, eight-feet high.
When all the sawing and nailing of boards and tracks was complete, Amelia stuffed herself into a wooden crate for the first ride. “As it careened down the track,” Muriel recalled, “we heard the sound of splintering wood. The car and Amelia departed the track when the car hit the trestle. Both tumbled onto the ground. Amelia jumped up, her eyes alight, ignoring a torn dress and bruised lip. ‘Oh, Pidge’ she exclaimed, ‘it’s just like flying!’ ”
Amelia wasn’t moved when she saw her first airplane at the 1907 Iowa State Fair, in Des Moines, recalling it as “a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting.” At 9, Edwin presented her with a .22 rifle “so she could clear the barn of rats,” much to the consternation of her well-to-do grandparents. “Don’t worry, Mother Otis,” Edwin told her grandmother. “This is really a very small rifle.” Describing their beloved father many years later, Muriel called him “loving, generous, impractical.”
For more on Amelia’s happy youth and the events that to her fateful meeting with Neta Snook, her first flight instructor, please see Chapter I, “Birth of a Legend,” pages 5-19 in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
Back to the present, and a final observation. I find it greatly ironic that for the past two years the only significant news in the Earhart case has come from Saipan, where Amelia and Fred Noonan suffered and died so ignominiously. Here, as well, is our last living link to Amelia, 86-year-old Marie S. Castro, president of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Committee, who daily wages a losing battle in her campaign to erect a memorial monument to the doomed fliers. If not for this blog and the two Saipan newspapers, not a soul in the United States would know about Marie and her quest to properly honor and commemorate the hapless duo at the site of their murders. For this sorry state of affairs we can thank our corrupt media, of course, which continues to dutifully cover up the truth in the Earhart saga, like the mindless, heartless little soldiers they are.
The uninformed, incurious and ultra-propagandized Saipan populace is either strongly against the Earhart Memorial Monument (see top right of this page for the architect’s model) or hopelessly indifferent. The former faction includes most of Saipan’s politicians, who can also be relied upon to bend to the popular wind, currently blowing stiffly in the wrong direction. Marie often finds herself surrounded by smiling faces who assure her of their support, but those who sincerely care are far too few, and as things look now and for the foreseeable future, it will require divine intervention before we ever see the Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, and will gladly admit it if the sentiment on Saipan ever turns in Amelia’s favor.
I’ve written plenty about Marie Castro’s work and will continue to do so. Although the Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune have supported the AEMMI movement to varying degrees, fundraising from the United States has been very disappointing, and from Saipan it’s been far worse. Please see the Media Page of this blog for links to the newspaper stories; and for a complete list of all the posts I’ve done here since the institution of the AEMMI, please click here.
In any event, Happy Birthday, Amelia!