I am old enough to remember the Apollo 1 pad fire and the horrific shock we felt as Americans that our technological prowess had gone awry. I can remember the nail biting and gut wrenching as I and hundreds of millions of people around this country and the world waited for the crew of Apollo 13 to come home. I stood in awe when shuttle Columbia made her maiden flight in 1981 and I sat in shock when Challenger exploded that cold January morning in 1986.
Saturday all those memories came back in a flood as I watched Columbia break up over Texas taking with her the lives of seven American heroes.
Like Challenger and Apollo before her we will find out what caused this tragic accident and we, as a nation, will move on. We must continue to explore space and seek knowledge. An endeavor such as this will always carry with it an inherent danger.
This country was built on exploration and the need to push our boundaries. We must support the families of those who have died by not letting them die in vain but instead by pushing on to further explorations. What better way to honor those brave men and women than by continuing on with what they believed to be the ultimate goal. We must support NASA and all the astronauts. I have always been an ardent supporter of America’s space program. And I will continue to do so now.
Accidents like this will always happen. Thankfully they will be few and far between but they will happen. Such events occur whenever mankind makes a step into the unknown. And they will happen again in the future. What we can do as a nation of explorers is to trust our instincts, fix the problem and continue on.