Friday, February 1, 2013
NASA's Day of Remembrance
Today, NASA remembers their fallen.
Ten years ago, the space shuttle Columbia broke apart upon reentry. I was 17, and remember listening to a news report on the radio as my family drove to visit our grandparents. We all got very quiet as we realized what they were saying. I have to admit, I first thought they were discussing Challenger and was confused as to why they kept saying "when the astronauts were in the midst of reentry". Challenger exploded upon launch, that much I knew, despite it actually happening when I was only a few months old and far too young to understand at the time.
But then, at 17, I finally did come to understood the crushing sadness that had been experienced January 28th, 1986. A few days past Challenger's anniversary in 2003, the unthinkable happened again. Such an event is a shock to the system, and I sincerely hope it isn't one that will occur again in my lifetime, or at any point in the future, though I know that's a lot to wish for.
Astronauts represent the best of us. The bravest. The smartest. The fittest. They are not just national heroes, but international heroes. To lose symbols like that is hard on everybody. But these people weren't just symbols. The people involved in these disasters--Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia--had families and friends who grieved not for a lost astronaut, but for their lost loved one.
All I can hope is for those who lost someone special that day, that they take some comfort in knowing what an effect each of those people had on all of us, and how much we each dearly wish it hadn't ended as it did.
May these brave souls rest in peace among the stars.