As she heads to space, 82-year-old Wally Funk continues to inspire

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For Wally Funk, of Grapevine, it’s still hard to believe that after 60 years, she’s finally getting to space Tuesday on Blue Origin’s first spaceflight with people. It’s even harder for others to believe she had to attend goodbye . Six-year-old Gianna Pouncil loves watching the celebs and dreams of reaching them at some point. That’s why she doesn’t understand why anyone would tell her she’s incapable simply because she’s a woman. “I don’t like anybody bullying me,” Pouncil said. “I like nice people.”

Nine-year-old Demi Evans agrees. “No, that’s not cool,” Evans said. It didn’t make much sense to Funk, either. She had a university degree and was already a decorated pilot by the time she, and 12 other women, were chosen to travel through astronaut training in 1961. “I feel in any case those tests I had, I can roll in the hay, and that I can roll in the hay even as well as anybody else,” Funk said back in 2019. Neither Funk nor the opposite women— later mentioned because the Mercury 13—ever became astronauts because NASA didn’t want women representing America within the space race with the Soviet Union. They weren’t seen as a symbol of strength.

“They are strong enough,” Pouncil said. “Girls can do an equivalent thing the other person can do,” said Evans. That’s exactly what the ladies who trained with Funk said once they testified before Congress in 1962. They believed that ladies could, and will, attend space. Eventually, in 1983, the primary American woman, Sally Ride, did go. A decade later, Eileen Collins became the primary female pilot and later, the primary commander of an area shuttle. She invited Funk and therefore the other women to her launch as many thanks for paving the way. “If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here immediately,” Evans said. “Anything is feasible .” Now, Funk will attend space, and since of her persistence, tomorrow these girls will go even higher.

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