Group to build Amelia Earhart monument on Saipan

AN Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument will be constructed near the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

The monument committee, which was formed in Sept. 2017, is led by Rep. Donald Barcinas who is now seeking funds for the project. “We need at least $200,000 for the project,” he told the Rotary Club of Saipan during a meeting on Tuesday,

He said the project will further enhance Saipan as a Pacific tourist destination.

Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and was one of the most famous Americans of her day. In July 1937, she and navigator Fred Noonan were trying to circumnavigate the world aboard a Lockheed Model 10 Electra, a twin-engine, all-metal monoplane, when they disappeared somewhere in the South Pacific.

At the Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at Giovanni’s Restaurant on Tuesday, memorial committee member Herman Cabrera, a local architect, said the monument will be an 18-foot bronze statue of Earhart.

In an interview, Barcinas said they will reach out to the Legislature, the governor’s office and organizations such as the Rotary Club for funding assistance.

He said they have also met with the Marianas Visitors Authority to discuss the committee’s plan.

Memorial committee secretary Frances Sablan said she joined the group after learning about the many “theories” that try to explain Earhart’s disappearance.

Marie Soledad C. Castro, who mentioned Earhart’s disappearance in her 2014 memoirs titled “Without a Penny in My Pocket: My Bittersweet Memories Before and After WWII,” said the monument will announce to the world that Earhart was on Saipan in 1937. Castro was 4 years old at the time.

She told Rotarians about her interview in 1983 with Matilde Arriola who, Castro said, met Earhart when the aviator was detained by the Japanese authorities on island. According to Arriola,   Castro said, Earhart died of dysentery. The body was cremated, Castro added, quoting a Japanese agriculture instructor who married a Saipan resident. “There was no Japanese cemetery at that time,” Castro said.

“There is strong evidence that Earhart was here on Saipan,” she added.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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