Tuesday, July 26, 2005

shuttle returns to space

It was truly awesome to watch all the footage this morning of the shuttle returning to flight.
I remember hearing when Columbia was lost.I was living with Dan and the family in Dayton and I couldn't believe it had made it almost back to earth; so close but still so dangerous.
Over the beloved State of Texas, up in the farmlands of the Piney Woods of deep east TX laid the strewn wreckage.
I had visited the area not just a few months before.
Such a typical American hometown place of lots of little towns, one turning into the next only distinguished by the road signs.Just an ordinary place that such an extraordinary event would happen.
These people where like my neighbors.I had lived in the Houston area for 25 years and NASA was part of the community as any big business is in any town.Its one of the things that distinguishes Houston from the rest of the world.Its howthe name "Astros" came about and other words we use now in our lives that we don't give a second thought to.Asrtroturf, Astrodome.Yes, Houston was " Space City, USA" and family members were in mourning and I couldn't go home for the funeral.
I stood on that porch and figured out a way to lower the American Flag to half staff even thoughit wasn't made that way and in the cool breeze just stared south on that hilltop towards Wright-Patterson AFB.
Many times i had watched military aircraft fly over to and from the base, even Presidential aircraft but it was eerily silent just at that time.
Just the flag whip[ping in the wind, some leaves rusting around on the ground and my thoughts clamoring to be heard inside my head, each reaching out to as if to say " don't forget about me".
I remember as a young girl when John Glenn first orbited the earth and what a thrill it was.How proud I was to be American and a Buckeye.
Then Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and Dan's dad and I watched it on TV;again a proud moment for Americans and Buckeyes.
We used to travel through Wapokonetta when Dan was an infant and stopped for a drink.He would just laugh and laugh at the very mention of the word Wapokonetta". It became a family joke.
I was helping a very sick friend when Challenger had its disaster.Neither of us could believe it was true.
How could this happen?A schoolteacher was on board.Family as well as the rest of the world were watching.
Then that morning as Columbia was reentering the atmosphere minutes from touchdown family watched the horror again.
We had become complacent.The shuttle lost its ability to awe us by that point.It became routine.We took it for granted.
I heard someone say the mood at NASA has changed because of this so maybe there is a benefit to it.
I hope we always stay awestruck at something so magnificent as this hunk of metal propelled towars the heavens and its work is to discover new things about the world we live in.
When I was young I used to think the whole space program was a big bunch of goobly glop but as I grew up I began to understand the value in it.
As Dan's dad would say " isn't science wonderful"?
So to the men and women who work together around the country to to pull something like this off you have restored faith back into something that was dying off.
All of are to be commended.from the janitorial staff to the leaders and the asronauts themselves congralulations on a job well done.

1 comment:

anniebee said...

Hi Margaret. Hope you're ok. sorry I haven't been around much. Have a good weekend. *Hugs*