Friday, May 4, 2007


News of the death of American Astronaut Walter Schirra, Jr. , 84, the fifth Astronaut in space, was more than merely notable to me as I drove along a highway today. It gave me pause to consider the mortality of these childhood heroes of mine, as well as reminding me of my own limitations.

As a child growing up in the 1960's, I watched several Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches when our family vacationed near Cape Kennedy. I could name many of the original Astronauts. Their part in NASA's endeavor to put a man on the moon fueled my imagination. From fiery launches to moon walks to dramatic splash downs, Astronauts provided some of the most memorable moments of my youth.

In my mind's eye, these men are forever young. They represent to me the very best of the spirit of America--always striving for excellence and challenging new frontiers. Their example will always inspire me to be courageous and strive higher even as I, like they, age into a future yet unknown.

NOTE: This post was eventually published as a Letter to the Editor in the Indianapolis Star on May 9, 2007

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