Editorial: Finding inspirational trailblazers

Jun. 20, 2013 @ 02:05 PM

Our affinity with trailblazers never wanes.

When we see what someone can do that we cannot, there is an instant signal within us, recognition of specialty. That others can accomplish the task does not diminish what we see or hear; we only know we’re witness to something we are, to this point, not yet capable.

At this point, one of two things most likely shall happen. We dismiss any chance we can ever achieve the feat. Or, we have vision, a seed of inspiration is planted, and a pathway to a goal is created.

Along the way, quite possibly, we become a trailblazer of sorts ourselves.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Tiny Broadwick falling into the ranks of 20th century pioneers. When considering powered flight was still shy of having been with us for 10 years, Georgia Ann Thompson’s leap from a plane over Griffith Park in Los Angeles is remarkable in itself.

But she wasn’t just the first woman parachutist.

Hers was the path of a pioneer, someone who saw, believed in herself, and lived out a dream. Sparked by seeing a hot air balloon jump at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh — bear in mind, in the early 1900s, that wasn’t just a zip down a divided highway to the capital city — she gained an interest in aviation that led to parachute innovations used by multiple generations.

She had an impact on safe parachutes used by soldiers dropped behind enemy lines on D-Day, and the giant chutes helping Apollo astronauts return home safely from the moon.

That’s a long way from the ride to Raleigh by an ambitious teenager.

And that’s the beauty in trailblazers. They come in all sizes, all races and all backgrounds. Their visions are what we cannot see or imagine. Uncommon denominators fuel their drive.

After all, if it was easy, it would have been done, or we could all do it.

On this centennial anniversary of Broadwick’s jump, we pay respect for her accomplishments. And we encourage everyone to find their drive and inspiration.