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  • When I was a kid, I clearly remember the Space Shuttle Columbia launch, how my family gathered, astonished, around the television to bear witness to the future of space travel. It was nothing short of amazing, and as I lay on the ground watching stars at night, I often imagined myself one day sitting in the seemingly accessible almost airplane-like shuttle, flying amongst the stars. This was of course at the time when my future was in front of me.

    Also embedded in my brain is the moment in Miss Chance’s English class when the school principal interrupted my innocent ninth-grade studies to announce that the flag would fly at half-staff to display our mourning for the loss of the seven astronauts on board the Challenger, which exploded a mere 73 seconds after launch. The crew on board included Christa McAuliffe, a teacher not at all unlike the woman who now stood before us, shocked silent, lip quivering, at the head of our class.

    On two recent occasions, I got up in the dead of night to watch the International Space Station pass overhead, with a Shuttle attached. All I could see was a bright light, not unlike an airplane passing by, only further out in space. Still, I was compelled to observe. On the morning after I watched the space station fly by, I blurted out my amazement to my social media clan, and got in response a lot of negativity about “NASA’s welfare program,” and such. How easy it is to dash the silly dreams of others via the typed word.

    Today I took half a day off work and rode my bike with a friend to witness the Shuttle Endeavor, piggy backed on a 747 jumbo jet as it was escorted to its final resting place (ironically grounded and tucked into a corner of a museum). This time I refuse to let anyone introduce villains into my story. It was magical, and now it is - like so many things that meant something to me once- no longer a part of what is to be.
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