WIESBADEN, Germany - Shirley Chisholm - a politician, educator and author - went into the history books as the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, and again, as the first major-party black candidate for the presidency.

Dr. Sally Kristen Ride left her mark in history as not only the first American woman, but the youngest American, to enter space.

And Amelia Earhart, an American aviator and author, was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross for her solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean - just one of many records she set.

These three extraordinary women paved the way for future generations to make their own contributions to history, and every year, people around the world celebrate their contributions and those of many others during Women's History Month.

This year, the Defense Contract Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District joined to celebrate these women's involvement in history, as well as a few women in their own lives who have made their own impacts.

"Celebrating Women's History Month reminds us of women's significant and substantial contributions in history," said Raelene Hampton, Special Emphasis Program director with the district. "It can serve as inspiration to young girls and empowers them visualize a great future."

Guest speakers included Jennifer Allen, a contract specialist from DCMA, Marylou Benner, Employee Support Office chief with the district, and keynote speaker Jeanne Galindo, Equal Employment Opportunity officer with the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. Each spoke of women who inspired them to reach a little higher and go a little farther.

"It was an honor to be asked to speak in the program," said Benner. "It gave me the opportunity to talk about a woman who truly inspired me: my mother, who taught me what doesn't kill me will make me strong and gives me character. And she said character can never be taken away no matter what I have to endure. This lesson has stayed with me and shaped my entire life."

Galindo reminded the audience that what often made great women great is doing what is the right thing even when it is not popular. She related stories of fearless women and challenged the audience to always stand up for what is right.

"Women throughout history have challenged the norms, overcome adversity, fear and stood up for what is right," said Galindo.

In a proclamation making March Women's History Month, President Barack Obama praised the women who blazed trails for women's empowerment and equality.

"From reaching for the ballot box to breaking barriers on athletic fields and battlefields, American women have stood resolute in the face of adversity and overcome obstacles to realize their full measure of success," said Obama.

<b>The Amelia Earhart Center</b>

On Oct. 26, 1956, officials gathered for the completion and dedication of the Amelia Earhart Hotel in Wiesbaden, Germany. Originally a hotel for the nurses who worked in the neighboring Wiesbaden Air Force hospital and later as temporary military housing for families, the

The hotel saw a variety of historic events over its history due its proximity to the hospital.

In January 1981, the hotel housed a dozen State Department officials present to witness the arrival and medical testing of 52 American hostages freed by Iranian militants who seized the U.S. Embassy in Iran and took 98 hostages on Nov. 4, 1980, as part of the Iranian Revolution, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

But the building's days as a hotel were limited.

In 1993, U.S. Army Europe directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District to move from its previous home at the Abrams Complex in Frankfurt, Germany, into the Amelia Earhart Facility, due to the USAREUR Base Closure Directive that closed the complex. To facilitate the move, almost $3 million in renovations were completed to five of nine floors as well as the basement to transform the hotel into an office building.

On June 30, 1995, with renovations complete, the hotel was renamed the Amelia Earhart Center. Today, the Amelia Earhart Center houses the Europe District headquarters, the Defense Contract Management Agency, Army Contracting Agency, some Installation Management Command personnel and the Amelia Earhart Playhouse.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16