The year was 1995, it was night, you were blasting over our head.
A miniature lad clad in a blue Astronaut jumpsuit held his hands over his ears blocking out the deafening sound produced by your red and orange fire. Swirling smoke spiraled out of your temporary rocket boosters.
Child-like awe formed watching your ascension to the Heavens.
Shivering in the balmy Florida air my camcorder lost your profile for a few seconds triggering my hasty zoom all over the sky with my lens desperately trying to find you again.
your boom into the atmosphere reverberated within my entire body spreading joy into my heart. You were an amazingly complex and hard to fathom miracle. You, who carried, brave men and women to places where only a few had tread. You, who tagged up with a heavenly station uniting the world only in that one place where all countries had to get along or become non-productive.
Now, in 2012, I watch you piggy backing on a super 747. You, the black snouted bird looking careworn and ancient. You have beaten all others flying higher than anyone could ever have imagined and pulling in so many more millions of miles than your kind usually flies. You carried Satellites that enabled communication across the world, into our hands, into our ears and into our homes. Satellites that researched our atmosphere and spacecraft that researched that ball of fire that produces our heat and light which we loving call the Sun.
You propelled the Hubble telescope the same year that my wanted-to-be astronaut was born.
Emotionally, I watch you fly over our Nation’s capital; the same building that cut the funding that created your demise.
Melancholy envelopes my heart not only for you, your kind and those who have nurtured, feed and flown with you but for change. The Change that may or may not stifle innovation, the change that your demise has created for the State of Florida and the change that is growing more prevalent everyday just in my own family. No longer is that little astronaut clad lad looking up to the sky wondering when it will be his turn, he has moved on just as it seems the nation has and that in of itself is cause for concern. In the immortal words of one of NASA’s own astronauts Jim Lovell “I look up at the moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?”
Thank You NASA & shuttle Discovery (OV-103) for such wonderful memories!
Photo courtesy of USA today
*upper photos courtesy of NASA.GOV