Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Houston, we have landed.

Taken by a coworker
Growing up there was one thing I always wanted to be. An astronaut. The dream started well before elementary school. I don't really remember how it started, all I really remember was the Challenger wasn't the Challenger anymore, but EC's ship. Thats right I was going to go up with it one day.

I still remember that day. January 28, 1986. Anyone who was alive then has to remember. For those of us living in northern VA it was a teachers work day, meaning we could actually watch as the shuttle was to blast off, taking along a teacher Christa McCauliffe. At five I didn't really understand the importance of her going up but still thought it was cool none the less. I mean the entire world was going to be watching her take off. My mom gathered my sisters and I into her bedroom where they had a tiny TV, to this day I don't know why we didn't go downstairs but I know we sat on the end of the bed so we could all watch it together. We counted down with the clock, cheered with the reporters and clapped when they said. 'Liftoff.' And watched as the shuttle went up, higher and higher and higher...and then right before our eyes the shuttle was no more. In fact it was nothing but a major ball of red fire descending back down to Earth... and suddenly everything went silent. The reporters, the TV. My mom.

My dream.

After that, the dream of being an astronaut pretty much went out the window. Though for reasons I don't really know. Considering how much I loath math and science it probably wouldn't have worked out in the long run anyway. Still there has always been a part of me that has always been in love with the program. That follows and has followed the NASA program. That still calls it EC's shuttle no matter how many shuttles there actually where. There has always been something that is just so fascinating with the whole concept of space.

Caught from one of our offices rooftop.
A couple of months ago the announcement came that they would be ending the Space program. No longer would we be going up to the moon, no longer would we need shuttles. The thought saddens me a bit. This is the sort of things dreams are made out of. And to take a way the program? I feel a bit lost in truth. They would retire the shuttle, Discovery and bring her to the final destination of The Air and Space Musuem in Dulles in the that generations behind us could enjoy. Though I don't think they will ever understand or feel the same way I did as a kid.

Discovery made her final flight home yesterday on the back of a 747. Coming in from FL at ten in the morning. But before she did so, they treated those around the DC area to an incredible sight. She flew around the nations capital with low clearance. Low enough that if you saw it, you were speechless.  And it wasn't just once, but several times around. Making sure that anyone and everyone who wanted a chance to see her, would be able to.

There right there.
And it was just by chance, that from my office in SE, my dream seemed that much closer.  You see not only did I see it, but it flew right over top of my building. I stood among my coworkers who clapped and saluted and teared up. Yes, teared up including myself who couldn't really help it. Knowing that what we were seeing was something that was just amazing. I will not lie, it was pretty much the most incredible sight I have seen in years-well besides the birth of my son that is.-I am pretty sure I was on cloud nine for the remainder of the day.

Most of us stood there long after the shuttle had passed us by. None more so than myself who quietly sat there thinking of the Challenger, and Christa McCauliffe. And feeling as though we had just lost something so much more than a dream....

God Speed Discovery, god speed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That had to be an incredible sight to see! For a moment, it must have been like seeing your dream come true, just to see the shuttle pass. :)