Sunday, September 04, 2011

Return: NASA--A Field Trip through the last 40 years

Rebeca and I went to Space Center Houston yesterday. During the various tours we did, we heard various presidential speeches that were made during the past 40 years of the space program. We also saw a short film that highlighted each of the space shuttle flights. It was full of such exuberance until that fateful day in the 1980s when the Challenger shuttle met its demise.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the sad news: in the cafeteria lunch line at my school. When I got home, I told my mom about how I heard the news that day, and she said that my generation will always talk about "where we were" with the Challenger the way her generation did with the Kennedy assassination. To some extent she was right, but sadly I think the bigger tragedy my generation will always remember is where they were on September 11, 2001 when they realized our nation was under attack.

As a mother of young children, I found myself thinking to the future and wondering what amazing accomplishments in space travel will happen during my children's lifetimes.  It also made me wonder what catastrophic event might be the "where were you when..." story for their generation. For better or for worse, it is almost certain that we will experience both the wonderful and the difficult, the amazing and the tragic during our lifetimes, both as individuals and as a collective human family. Both the good and the bad leave their mark, have the power to shape and change us.

1 comment:

J at said...

Oh Tracy, you're doing such a wonderful job with this prompt. It brings me back to the early days of blogging! Yay you.

Gah, I also remember that day when the Challenger exploded. I was on vacation in L.A. with some friends, and came out of the bathroom to see the explosion. Horrid. I threw up, which was embarrassing. Then there was the Columbia. I was in bed, cuddling with Maya, when Ted told me the news. Again, I felt like I wanted to vomit. Thankfully I didn't. Ugh. Such horrid days.

Then there's September 11, and you're right, how will anything compete with that in our minds? God, I pray that nothing will. I don't want out children, or us, to have to go through that again. Too horrible. I do love those good things, the good events, though. :) The babies, the marriages, the successes in life aspirations, etc. These are the things that make a life.