‘I Had to Fly’ — 12 Photos of Amelia Earhart You Need to See

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Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. In 1920, she attended an air show in Long Beach, California and took a 10-minute plane ride that changed her life forever. "As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly," she wrote.  
In 1928, she was invited to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and became an international celebrity. She was listed as a co-pilot, but ultimately was not allowed to fly.
She set seven women’s speed and distance aviation records betweeb 1930 and 1935. In May 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across in the Atlantic. 
Dubbed “Lady Lindy,” Earhart promoted aviation and helped found the Ninety-Nines, an organization dedicated to female aviators.
Earhart wed publisher George Palmer Putnam on Feb. 7, 1931. He reportedly proposed to her six times before she agreed to marry him.
She famouly sent him a letter detailing "some things which should be writ before we are married." "I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any midaevil code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly," Earhart wrote, adding that her career was a top priority. "Please let us not interfere with the others’ work or play."
As she approached her 40th birthday in 1937, Earhart famously said, "I have a feeling that there is just about one more good flight left in my system." She wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world.
After a botched attempt in March that severely damaged her plane, a determined Earhart had the twin engine Lockheed Electra rebuilt.
On June 1, 1937, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan left Miami, Florida, an around-the-world flight.
They disappeared on July 2 after a stop in Lae, New Guinea, with only 7,000 miles of the trip left. 
There were radio messages that they were running low on fuel. Contact was lost, and the plane never made it to their destination.
While a great deal of mystery surrounds her disappearance, her contributions to aviation and women's rights have inspired people for over 80 years.