The events concerning the Columbia made me think of 3 songs. One is Michael Longcor's "Pillar of Hell":
"I remember the day that the Challenger died.
I remember the shock, I remember I cried.
I remember the day that proud ship fell,
And the seven who rode on that pillar of hell.
The mean little men with their mean little minds.
With their schedules and costs, and their bloody bottom line.
Who contract and kick back, who buy and who sell.
And who will never ride on that pillar of hell.
..but you can't kill my dreams, you can't deny me the stars!
What gold cannot buy, what I'll never sell.
Is the chance to ride on that pillar of hell."
Certainly one thing we need is to bring back the magic, the adventure that the space program once had. The moon race didn't just have us beat the Russians there, it gave us advances in electronics, communications, meteorology, medicine, to name a few that would never have happened had we not taken it on. With the space race came the vicarious adventure we could all share in.
There's a few on the lunatic fringe that haven't given up on the adventure. I remember reading about a millionaire who's constructing his own rocket so he can be the first amateur astronaut into space.
The flight will be straight up 60+ miles and straight down. The fellow has the spirit to succeed where lesser people skulk away.
The Seven strode to the gate. When the Voice asked what did they do, they spoke.
"We have rode the Tail of Fire, that those who will follow us will know the path to follow..."
The Voice then asked, "Was this sacrifice worthwhile? You have left much behind! Those who know you, and those who will know of you, are saddened and distraught!"
The Seven spoke again. "We have seen farther, for we stood on the shoulders of the Three, then those of the Seven before us, and those of our former enemy. What we have done, we were compelled to do, as others before us. First, we wished to see beyond the cave. Then, beyond the grass. Then, beyond the waters. Then, beyond the sky. Then, beyond the world."
"At each place," the Seven said, "our companions fell, for the journey is always perilous, and we will always miss those who stood with us in our lives. But mark us well, for if we did not think this thing worth doing, for ourselves and our fellows, we would still be huddled in the dark, cold, alone, and ignorant."
The Voice threw open the gate. "Well spoken, Heroes of this Age. But what would you wish for those left to wonder at your sacrifice?" The Seven were then joined by the first Seven, then the Three, and then by those of the former enemy, and soon by all who had come before, and sacrificed. As One, they proclaimed to the Voice, "That despite the danger, the sacrifice, the limits of enduring, that there always Be those who risk Everything, so to see, with their Own eyes, what there is to see!"
"That is why there are Warriors," the Voice proclaimed. "So that no matter the challenge, great or small, it does not matter, one or many will always stand up, tighten the cords of their helmet, and do what must be done."
-HoD DavI', David Cerame
non mup tlhIngan wo' Duj
......and the two Shuttles, CHALLENGER and COLUMBIA, will orbit the Heavens side by side reaching out to touch the face of God.
..................lest we forget.......................
The Day the Sun Claimed Seven Of Its Own:
A Tribute To Columbia's Crew
From the Sun came our planetary home...our physical world..and with it our consciousness and our reality. From that very consciousness we know that we and our world are real.
The Sun...our Sky Father...gave us life..and light...the power to be. What the Sun gives birth to, the Sun reclaims. What the Sun creates, the Sun destroys. What the Sun breathes out it, at some moment in time, inhales back into itself.
The Sun gives life and maintains life, but the Sun also destroys life. This statement, however, is true only if we see destruction and death as negative, frightening, a true ending to life. To the enlightened, the Sun is not only viewed as the Great Destroyer, but also as the Great Creator. They are one and the same, and together they are the body and soul of Father..indeed, Grandfather..Sun.
Seven souls..seven atoms in the universe..were inhaled by Father Sun today..breathed in by the Great Breath..taken into our Sky Father's bosom to rejoin with all their solar relations in the Solar Fire. Solar souls every one..seven Solar Souls on a mission in the realm of the Creative Power..Parent Space..the Duat..the Starry Realm of Osiris, He too a child of Ra..god of the Sun.
Rest well, my brothers and sisters. Be at peace in the arms of the Star Father. You will be remembered as photons of light, for that was what all of us on Earth witnessed of your passing...witnessed as lives alive one moment were gone from our world in the next. The very wonder of such an instant experience of death must be like burns like the very fire that consumed you in the minds of every human still alive on Earth. As you enter into the Fires of Creation, go shining.
I would like to say that those who died over the weekend on board Columbia did so as heroes. As the very hreroes we emulate from time to time would have done...boldly going. Sure, we're Klingons, but what would the Klingons have been without Kirk and Humanity? Nothing. A forgotten idea. Meaningless drivel.
What I am trying to say here is that those we are to honor are a step in the path to the greater reaches of space. Where would we be if someone convinced he Wright brothers not to build their plane? Where would we be if someone convinced Roddenberry not to write? A whole lot duller.
As on the show "ENTERPRISE", the theme song says a lot.
"Its been a long road...
gettin' from there to here.
it been a long time,
but my time is finally here..."
Remember, we first started watching Star Trek for the Hope of the Future it showed. Don't make the dream die by denying that sometimes accidents happen and heroes die. The road is long and bumpy. And Columbia was one big bump. I am not trying to make light of the situation. Quite the opposite actually.
There is no denying that the shuttles NASA is using are probably outdated and a safer design is out there. When the time comes, and a new type of shuttle is christened, I would hope that we as Star Trek Fans would band together again and have NASA name it Enterprise. This time, one that actually gets into space often.
Those that died aboard Columbia, Challenger, the Gemini and Mercury Projects, and all those who died for us to make sure we had the freedom to look to the stars and dream should be remembered for the sacrifices they made so that a greater discovery could be found.
They did not die in vain. Israelis are mourning the loss of the FIRST astronaut...not thier last. Americans like us are mourning the loss of six of our finest...but not the last. As long as there are people like us the will always be a little boy or girl out there who one day will grow up to be someone like Sally Ride, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, or maybe A future Zefram Cochran, Johnathan Archer, Robert April, Christopher Pike, James Kirk, John Harriman, Rachel Garret, Jean-luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, or Katherine Janeway. Boldly going where no one from this planet has gone before.
The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.
In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket, and the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the Earth.
These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.
The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.
In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."
The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.