Who were these children of the sun that reached so high and that dared so much? Men and women from around the world. People who found our dream so compelling, so enduring, so beyond reproach, as to journey here from afar, only to journey on. Why is it that we feel the need to reach out and touch them at this late date, and feel the wind of time blow by all of us as we journey to the stars with them? What made them so willing to give so much, study so hard, and work beyond measure, just to see the night sky beyond the clouds...and why do we even care about this thing, this nothing, that they reached out to embrace?

Is it possible, could it be, that somewhere deep inside we see and feel the things that they felt? Could it be that a part of each of us died in early morning sky over Texas? Do you suppose that what died was a part of the better angels of our nature?

Perhaps a mural says it best...painted long ago, when men first walked on the moon. A great mural of the men who reached to the stars and walked on the moon, and then behind them the men and women so close--who earthbound helped them on their way. In that mural, there, deep in the background of this vision of who caused this...way back in the back, so far as to be nondescript stand I. You are there too in this mural, for they were and we were...then, American's all.

Today that is not the case, and perhaps more than any other reason that is why we will go on. By and large Americans deliver our unique message in the form of reaching for the stars and in the best things that we build as a nation...that dream, their dream, is the best of America, the best of the city, the best of the heartland, the best of north, south, east, and west.

The ability for the first time in the history of man to have people embrace a vision, not at the point of a sword, but in reaching for a distant point of light. If man can fly, then he will forever seek his way higher.

God Speed Columbia, we didn't have to know your names or understand your experiments...we knew your mission, and therein you will find our stamp of approval.


©Copyright 2003 David Ray Skinner/SouthernReader. All rights reserved.