Like so many other kids, growing up one of the many things I wanted to be was an astronaut. I was fascinated by the planets (Venus and Saturn were my favorites), and by the stars and those amazing photos of Earth from space. I used to read our archived National Geographics on the planets, sometimes several times over, before putting them back in the sea of yellow spines.
Of course other things and other interests got in the way. I cannot for the life of me remember the order in which I wanted to be the many different things I wanted to be, but I know there were a lot of thoughts about my future career.
I will admit that it was a little rough watching Discovery’s last mission a year ago. Who remembers learning about putting a man on the moon and watching footage from that mission in school and on numerous documentaries and what an absolute Triumph it was knowing that’s what we were capable of? The space program was a testament to the mind, I think. Earlier civilizations had these amazing pyramids and temples, ruins still standing today, and we’ve taken that knowledge and grown from it. Building upon past discoveries to put man in space. In SPACE.
I know there is still a space program. But not with our shuttles. And so I will admit the goosebumps I felt standing on the roof of a building downtown, seeing neighboring rooftops equally populated, and watched Discovery fly past the Washington Monument. I get chills just thinking about it.