I’m a news junkie.
And at no point today did I see any mention of today being the 23rd anniversary of the Challenger explosion. Which to me is a shame. A damn shame.
It was finals week during my senior year. I heard about it at school that day. When I got home, I remember calling my mom at work and asking her if she had heard; of course she had. She had one question for me that I remember vividly – “Bill, if they were to call you right now and ask you if you’d go up tomorrow, would you go?”. My answer was “Hell yes!”. Today the answer is the same.
And this weekend will be the sixth anniversary of the loss of the Columbia. Being the (not so) closet geek* that I am, it was quickly apparent that something had gone horribly wrong when the TV bobblehead announced that the shuttle was a minute overdue. Goddess wanted to know what was wrong when I said “Oh Shit” while the bobblehead kept talking about how beautiful a morning it was in Florida and that they were anticipating the arrival of the shuttle. This inane chatter went on for another 10 minutes while I just kept shaking my head.
So please take a moment, raise your glass and recite the fourth stanza from Laurence Binyon’s “For the Fallen”, which is usually used as a remembrance for fallen soldiers, but I believe is appropriate in this situation:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
To me, the crews of these two missions, as well as the many before them, are the true pioneers, and the true heros, of our generation. Not big guys in pads hitting each other on fields or (dare I say) people on the coast of Kona. These individuals knew that they were truly putting their life at risk, yet charged headlong into the task.
While I may not hold them in quite the same regard as gentlemen like Specialist Michael Carter, I do have a tremendous amount of respect for them. And those who know me well know that I don’t just hand out respect.
And it’s folks like that they get me to say “HELL YEAH!”
*Closet Geek – Yes, I read the Columbia Accident Investigation Board report in its entirety the day that it was released earlier this month. All 400 pages.