Friday, February 01, 2013
Ten years ago today, I was at home, still half asleep, when I received word of the space shuttle Columbia tragedy. My mom rang, but as I was wont to do in those days, I let the machine pick up. Clearly upset, she began to leave a message explaining the heartbreaking news. I eventually picked up and turned on the television... I could never bring myself to erase that message; it died along with my phone system in 2011.
In the years since then, there have been plenty of remembrances, many of them artistic in nature. I remember walking in Brooklyn past a street mural, painted by school children, depicting the Columbia crew. There is, of course, a memorial at the Kennedy Space Center, which I visited a few years ago. More recently, I discovered a lovely, if haunting, song called "The Commander Thinks Aloud," by the Long Winters...
Just three days before the accident, John Lennon's "Imagine" was the wake-up song for the Columbia crew. I recommend you listen to the clip in its entirety, as it includes not only the song as it was played in low earth orbit that day, but the inspirational, timeless, and, at least to me, tear-inducing comments of astronauts Willie McCool and Ilan Ramon.
RIP to the Columbia seven. You will not be forgotten. ∞