I remember watching the first launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia. We crammed into the library of Linder Elementary like a bunch of polyester-clad sardines. Getting out of class was exciting enough, but this … this was more than we could handle. We sat, eyes wide and breath held, as the shuttle launched–but once it became little more than a pin prick in the sky, our attention ran a muck. Our teachers tried in vain to shush us so they might hear the commentators. We would not be silenced. After all, from where we sat, the life of the Jetsons would soon be ours. There were dreams to dream and plans to plan–more than a few of which included our own travels to space. You see, while the adults were attempting to witness history, we were busy witnessing the future.
And while we could very easily imagine flat panel TVs, we could never fathom the demise of the space program. It’s for the best really. Because I can tell you now, there’s something melancholy in the words, Mission complete, Houston.
So to all the men and women of NASA’s space shuttle program: thank you. For giving your hearts and minds–even, at times, your very lives. For expanding our world and the limits of possibility; for giving us dreams of our own; for lassoing the moon and delivering it to our doorstep.
Surely your work will pave the way to all we might explore tomorrow …