According to Discovery News, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), led by Richard Gillespie has spent years searching for Earhart. In fact, while TIGHAR has looked into other aircraft recovery efforts, since 1989 the organization has launched nine different expeditions. Not surprisingly, Gillespie is the author of “Finding Amelia.” He believes the newest expedition will lead to the final resting place of Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan.
What has stirred recent interest and more funding is a 1937 photograph that has been digitally enhanced to show what might be the Lockheed Electra’s landing gear “protruding from the waters off the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati.” The island is about 300 miles from where Earhart’s plane was believed to have disappeared. When the group returns to the possible wreckage in July, it will coincide with the 75th anniversary of Earhart and Noonan’s disappearance.
Three years after their disappearance in 1940, bones were found on Nikumaroro, which are no longer available. Apparently, “A woman’s shoe, an empty bottle and a sextant box whose serial numbers are consistent with a type known to have been carried by Noonan were all found near the site where the bones were discovered.”
No doubt, millions have been spent looking for Earhart. It’s a great mystery and the one who finds her final resting place will earn accolades, speaking engagements, book deals and an incredible amount of satisfaction. After nine expeditions, it would be difficult for Gillespie to walk away; he’s invested money, time and emotion. Unfortunately, an estimated 2300 people disappear daily in the United States. There is no fanfare, no funding. When and if these people are found, there will be no book deals, no speaking engagements.
I still wonder what happened to Kyron Horman, the beautiful little boy who was photographed proudly at his science fair. I look at his face and my heart breaks, for him, for his father, his mother, all those whose heart broke that day he didn’t return home. There’s a Facebook page set up for him that I checked recently, but no new information.
Kyron is just one of the missing. There’s a website called Let’s Bring Them Home (lbth.org) that has profiles on thousands.
Perhaps I’m being unfair calling attention to the millions spent trying to find Amelia Earhart, when it could be used for something else. But, I just think after 75 years, it doesn’t really matter to me where she crash landed. She was brave, committed and focused. She attempted to do what others had not and she was an incredible role model for women.
If in the end, it may simply be her single, tattered, deteriorated shoe that is the only thing found. She gave so much, and we will remember her with a touring shoe set up in museums around the country and the world.