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Library to host portrayal of female pilot

Take a step back in time with Virginia Mae Hope, portrayed by Melissa Friedmann of the Minnesota History Players, when she arrives at 1 p.m. Friday, March 23 at the Park Rapids Area Library.

Hope was a pilot and member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Her life was short but exciting. Learn what it was like growing up on a farm in Winnebago during the Great Depression and serving as a female pilot during World War II.  

There will be information about the bombing of Pearl Harbor and its national impact, and the changing roles of women during World War II.

The WASP performed wartime duties in the United States, freeing male pilots for combat. Hope was one of only 1,074 women to receive the WASP "silver wings" after completing rigorous training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas.

After graduation, she was assigned to the Weather Wing and stationed at Patterson Field in Dayton, Ohio.

Hope was known to say, "Isn't it just wonderful!" about her WASP career, though she and other female pilots faced blatant discrimination because they were women.

Not until 1977, 33 years after the program was disbanded, did Congress recognize the WASP as military pilots or grant them veteran status.

Hope died Dec. 7, 1944, in Omaha, Neb. when the plane on which she was a passenger crashed after takeoff.