In April 1981 I was 8. On the 12th, my father and I were visiting my grandmother, and I remember him waking me early in the morning. “You need to watch this. This is history.” My father, who had tape recordings of the telecast of the 1969 moon landing, and I huddled around a tiny black and white television in the alcove bedroom of Grandma’s granny flat walkup, and I watched a real live ship rocket into outer space.
Through disaster and triumph, the space shuttle has held a special place in my heart ever since. I’ve seen the Shuttle on display at the Air and Space museum and marveled at its massiveness, but finally today I saw it in the air with my own two eyes. Maybe it was riding piggyback, but better late than never. I sure hope we get it together enough to make manned space flight a priority again in time for my kids to feel an attachment like that.
In the meantime, the big kids were allowed to go out and watch the flyover. They were all very excited and it’ll have to do for now, I guess.