February 1, 2003

This is not the way I had wanted to start a new month. As I sit here watching the images coming across the television screen, and this feeling of deja vu comes over me, I can’t help but cry. The sadness and hopelessness washes over me as it does others. This wave of energy traveling across the planet at the speed of a television signal engulfs all of us, and leaves us lessened in its wake.

The news of the shuttle Columbia’s destruction, and the death of its seven-member crew came as an eye opening shock. Another reminder of the difficulty of the task we seek to accomplish. This was another of those ‘where were you when’ moments. This is now the third that I’ve had in my lifetime, the second dealing with a space shuttle falling to earth.

I remember the scene in my fourth grade class when my teacher returned from the principal’s to tell us that President Kennedy had been shot and killed. I remember how horrified I was that anyone would or could do such a thing. I remember the girl to my right coloring a picture for the last half hour or so of the day. I remember my just staring around the room trying to understand.

I remember working in a hospital in Baltimore, going to check a computer problem in the finance department. I remember someone calling me over to listen to the news coming over the radio telling us of the Challenger’s explosion after liftoff. I remember somebody running out of their office going “hey everybody, the shuttle just blew up”. I remember the piece of music the disc jockey on the rock station played just moments before I got home, Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’.

Now, I add to those memories. I’ll always remember how I started talking to my friend on Instant Messenger, and her asking me if I was watching the news. I’ll remember telling her no, and asking what was happening. I’ll remember her telling me, and my scrambling to get the TV on, and tell Shirley what had happened. I’ll remember the first picture being that vapor trail that split into several trails.

Three memories. Memories frozen in time. Memories implanted on my brain forever. Memories of events so tragic, so unimaginable that they beg to be erased, but never are, and never will be.

Fifteen lives. Fifteen lives stopped at too young an age. Fifteen futures filled with promise. Fifteen dreams ended, their promise unfulfilled.

I may not like the president’s constant barrage of religious tones, but he is right about one thing, those souls are home now. They are home where they are safe and sound.

My heartfelt prayers go out to those that brave the path that will one day take us from this planet to what lies beyond in the ‘final frontier’. May those that follow behind them always have their courage and determination.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the seven astronauts that were aboard Columbia. My thoughts and prayers are also with all of us, the remaining humans that inhabit this planet we call earth. My wish is for everyone to heal from this tragedy, to go forth with lessons learned, determined to never have to witness something like this again. I send healing energies to all so that healing may begin.

Let us heal, but let us remember.