Freedom Folks

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Godspeed Brave Souls!

Source: The Examiner
Exactly 40 years later, the three Apollo astronauts who were killed in that flash fire were remembered Saturday for paving the way for later astronauts to be able to travel to the moon. The deaths of Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee forced NASA to take pause in its space race with the Soviet Union and make design and safety changes that were critical to the agency's later successes.

"I can assure you if we had not had that fire and rebuilt the command module ... we could not have done the Apollo program successfully," said retired astronaut John Young, who flew in Gemini 3 with Grissom in 1965. "So we owe a lot to Gus, and Rog and Ed. They made it possible for the rest of us to do the almost impossible."

The memorial service at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex marked the start of a solemn week for NASA - Sunday is the 21st anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger accident, and Thursday makes four years since the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

Chaffee's widow, Martha, and White's son, Edward III, along with NASA associate administrator Bill Gerstenmaier, laid a wreath at the base of the Space Mirror Memorial, a tall granite-finished wall engraved with the names of the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia astronauts and seven other astronauts killed in accidents.
To me NASA has always represented the best of the American spirit. To boldly go where no man had gone before, to risk your life in exploration seems a truly noble goal. I so wish we could find a way to reignite that adventuresome spirit but I fear we have become a nation of mud hut dwellers. Content to eat our bugs and watch television instead of carving new homes out for humanity among the stars. Or at the very least finding out if we could.

H/T Captain's Quarters

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