February 1st, 2003

little review

Poem for February 1

High Flight
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

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, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Written in 1941. Carved on the Challenger astronauts' memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
little review

Another poem and rambling

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I was a sophomore in college when Challenger exploded, working at the school newspaper of which I was then books editor. When the executive editor walked in and told us, we thought at first it might be a sick joke someone had sent over the Associated Press wire -- there was no TV in the office and it took awhile for someone to pull out a radio. Then I went back to my dorm room, a quad I shared with two of my best friends and a suite-mate from France. I'm pretty sure we all missed classes that afternoon but I don't remember what I was supposed to be doing -- I just remember sitting on the couch in the living room, watching the shuttle explode over and over and watching Christa McAuliffe's parents' faces.

I still have the newspapers from the next morning. I can still name all seven of the Challenger crew. Am wondering how long it will be before we can all name Columbia's crew.