There are so many times I’m grateful to the internet and its citizens for posting things I’d otherwise never see. This memorial is such a touching tribute to a woman I greatly admired. When I was small I always wanted to be an astronaut and still have a scrap book of many of the newspaper clippings I collected about the space program in the 60s and 70s. As many people can recall where they were when Lennon was shot or when the two towers fell, I still remember the day of the Challenger disaster and the eulogy given the crew by then President Regan. McAuliffe’s epitaph is something I would still like to aspire to. It reads, “She helped people. She laughed. She loved and is loved. She appreciated the world’s natural beauty. She was curious and sought to learn who we are and what the universe is about. She relied on her own judgment and moral courage to do right. She cared about the suffering of her fellow man. She tried to protect our spaceship Earth. She taught her children to do the same.” Even now these words make my eyes sting, and yet, strangely, the Fallen Astronaut memorial seems as cold and forgotten as space itself.
UPDATE: Listen to an astronaut (Eileen Collins, whose earliest memories are about her library’s section on aviation) .