Friday, June 8, 2007

And We Have Lift-Off

At 7:38 p.m. Derrol, my cousin MJ and her husband Dan stood in our back yard with me to watch history in the making. We live about 60 miles from Merritt Island, Florida, home of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center and the site of today's Shuttle Atlantis launch.

MJ and Dan have traveled the United States, ridden through mining tunnels in Arizona, walked the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans, felt the power of the ocean at Big Sur, and soaked in the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio.... There isn't much that surprises them any more.

But the shuttle launch was a new high for them.

Knowing that the bright flash, streaking across the sky was a space craft filled with courageous Americans headed for the space lab and a piece of the universe we can only imagine about -- left us all a bit breathless.

You must realize that we are the children of parents who were born about the time that the Titanic was sinking. They traveled in horse-drawn wagons and carriages, drove Henry Ford's first automobiles when they were a new invention, and knew hunger and deprivation during the Great Depression.

We were born in the midst of the nuclear bomb scare, the Cold War, talks of end times, and the early years of television. Now we stand in our backyard and watch a streak that will transport us all into the future.

Pretty heady stuff for four people from West Central Ohio who were just getting together for a little pizza and conversation.

God speed to the astronauts. And God help us with the future....

For more of my writing about growing up in the space race. Please check out my essay


Gary said...

Oh, my. You must take a digital camera out and snap some blog'able photographs during the next launch. Or better, a DVD recording camera. Oh, wait, my little Nikon digi camera has a mpeg recording function which will recording several seconds of movies.

Ruth D~ said...

I like the perspective you bring to this moment, Dawn.

Last month I invited Commander Stephen Bowen to speak to our school. He is a NASA astronaut and the uncle of one of my students. He'll will be heading off to the space station early next year to attach a robotic arm that is part of the Japanese module. The kids were fascinated. The teachers too.

You'll definitely have to get some footaqe for us northerners.