Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. today spoke on the Senate floor about Amelia Earhart and about this week’s statue unveiling. After waiting more than 20 years, Amelia Earhart’s statue will replace fellow Atchison native and former U.S. Senator John Ingalls as a part of the renowned collection of statues in the U.S. Capitol. She will join President Dwight D. Eisenhower, our 34th President and Abilene native, as one of Kansas’ tribute statues. While you may click HERE or on the image below for video of Senator Marshall’s speech, Senator Marshall said in part,
“Kansans and especially the people of Atchison persevered, just as Amelia did in her pursuit of flight, to coordinate and create a bronze statue and limestone base – an appropriate nod to our state’s signature natural stone… While Amelia was a pioneer for aviators everywhere, she is still today a role model for every person, but especially for women and young girls who strive to break barriers and achieve their dreams despite the odds being against them. In my home state of Kansas, Amelia’s legacy lives on and continues to know no limits…”
Senator Marshall’s Full Remarks as Prepared:
This week after waiting more than 20 years, Amelia Earhart’s statue will replace fellow Atchison, Kansas native and former U.S. Senator John Ingalls in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Amelia will join President Dwight D. Eisenhower, our nation’s 34th President and Abilene, Kansas native, as one of Kansas’ two tribute statues in the Capitol Building.
President Eisenhower was placed in the Capitol Rotunda in 2003, but Amelia’s journey to our nation’s Capitol has taken much longer. Kansans and especially the people of Atchison persevered, just as Amelia did in her pursuit of flight, to coordinate and create a bronze statue and limestone base – an appropriate nod to our state’s signature natural stone.
It was Eighty-five years ago this month, Amelia Earhart vanished over the vast Pacific Ocean. She had already completed more than three fourths of her trip which would have made her the first pilot ever to circle the earth at its equator.
Amelia already made history before that flight. She was the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and the first woman to fly non-stop across the U.S.
Defying odds and expectations with each new accomplishment, she became a global superstar and one of the most accomplished pilots in history.
While Amelia was a pioneer for aviators everywhere, she is still today a role model for every person, but especially for women and young girls who strive to break barriers and achieve their dreams despite the odds being against them.
In my home state of Kansas, Amelia’s legacy lives on and continues to know no limits.
Kansas is home to the Air Capital of the World for good Reason. Our state has been home to many aviation manufacturers over the course of a century. And on any given summer’s day, with eyes to the sky, you can see aerial applicators flying low, dodging trees and power lines, diving upon acres and acres of cropland, and looking further upward you might see hobby pilots or executive jets, and often you will also hear screeching fighter bombers and giant jet re-fuelers, but to see them, you have to strain your eyes forward of the booming sound.
Indeed, our spacious land is well fitted for spacious runways, and our far-away horizons that’s provide endless visibility go on for miles on end signaling Kansas will remain the nation’s leaders in aerospace and drone development.
I want to go back for a moment, to a young Amelia being brought up in the heartland. Yes, Kansas is where a nine-year old Amelia first took flight. Listen to this story!
Inspired by an exhibit she saw at the 1904 World’s Fair, she built by herself a makeshift rollercoaster. And recall again at 9 years of age in this story, she launched her coaster off the roof of her house. After tipping over the edge of the roof she said it “felt like flying.” Sixteen years later she purchased her own plane and flew to new heights.
Today, I also want to honor the people of Atchison, who have taken to great lengths to preserve and tell Amelia’s story for all Americans to hear. My wife and I not too long ago enjoyed a great day visiting her perfectly preserved birth home, but the star of the show for our visit, a must go see for any American history buff is the new Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum, which honors Amelia’s aviation legacy and inspires all generations in the pursuit of flight. The centerpiece is Muriel – the world’s last remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E: an aircraft identical to the plane Earhart flew on her final flight.
Muriel is named for Amelia’s younger sister, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey. But what I’m really excited about at the museum is the Immersive STEM exhibits which take visitors through Earhart’s adventurous life – from growing up in Atchison, Kansas, to the height of her worldwide fame – as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Every school within busing distance has to plan a field trip to Atchison in the coming year! And the parents should be fighting to get to chaperone them!
And finally, I want to salute Atchison’s annual festival in honor of Amelia, which I attended just a couple of weekends ago, celebrating her life and achievements with history lessons, concerts, downtown arts and crafts, a world class fireworks extravaganza, and luncheon honoring the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award recipient. It was there, for the first time I connected with the legend of Amelia, and why the home town folks, nearly 130 years after her birth, fight to preserve her legacy, and especially how much she means to the ladies of the community!
Amelia flew to new heights and traveled longer distances than ever before. And today, Americans everywhere are joining Atchisonians, and Kansans, as we all honor Amelia this week out of a shared admiration for her innovative pioneering spirit.
Her fellow Atchison native and statuary predecessor, John Ingalls coined the motto for our state: “Ad astra per aspera” which means “To the Stars through Difficulties.”
Amelia Earhart personified that motto, pushing against social boundaries set for women and breaking new records in flight not just for a woman but for all aviators. For generations to come her spirit and her likeness in Statutory Hall will inspire not only Kansans, but also visitors from around the world.
Thank you Mr./Madam President. I yield back.