Sunday, February 02, 2003

The Space Shuttle Columbia Is Gone

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 wind-swept 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.

--"High Flight" by WW2 pilot John Gillespie Magee Jr.

Our prayers go out for the families, friends, and colleagues of the seven heroic astronauts who lost their lives yesterday in the NASA space program's worst accident since the 1986 Challenger tragedy.

May God bless and comfort them all.

PS: Especially noteworthy are the comments by syndicated columnist Peggy Noonan (from whom the above-quoted poem was taken), as well as the words of Junk Yard Blog's Bryan Preston, a NASA employee who once watched the Columbia take off.

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