At approximately 10:40 this morning I went to slashdot. I found out that the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on landing approximately 200,000 ft (@ 12, 500mph) above Texas. All are presumed dead – although rescue crews have been rushed to the area. I am extremely sad about this event and my heart goes out to the families of the astronauts who were on the shuttle. They did what most others could/would not – they spent the time, the energy and took the risks to undertake such an extraordinary task. Their accomplishments are what makes me proud ot be human – inspite of all the foolishness that happens in the world today. May God be with them and their families. I’d like to end with a poem that’s always touched me…
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high unsurpassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
— Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee