Smoke trail from Atlantis- 5/14/10 (personal photo)
The shuttle program is deeply rooted in my childhood memories. From a young age, space exploration captured my imagination, and has always been a thing of awe and wonder. Man in space bringing home perspectives of our world unlike any other, and views of the mysteries of space... incredible.
As a little girl, I remember watching videos made by astronauts, and laughing as they ate bananas and sent the peel spinning through the anti gravity air. Our family would often drive to the local high school's parking lot and search for the orange glow and smoke trail of a launched rocket on the horizon. Later, I was able to witness in person a rocket light up the night sky like the sun- an unforgettable experience. Visiting the Kennedy Space Center is where the beginning stirrings of patriotism grew in my heart. Nothing can make your heart swell like an IMAX film on our space program set to Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man".
Shuttle launches are perhaps something I have taken for granted, yet a tradition that I had hoped to share with my own children. My husband and son have seen launches from a distance, but nothing in person. Now with Atlantis' final mission, I mourn the end of a chapter in my life and in our nation's history. I can only hope that, like a good sequel, it will be back so that my children can exeprience the same pride and wonder in man and in our country.