Atlantis Ushers in the End of an Era

I was 9 years old in 1981 when Columbia started us on this grand adventure.  All my life I’ve watched as we launched brave men and women into space.  Sally Ride and  Christa McAuliffe inspired me to dream of space.  In 1986 my favorite movie was ‘Space Camp’ and I think I sent 200 some entries into the Bubbalicious Space Camp contest.  I didn’t win a trip to Space Camp but I did win some NASA patches and space food.  I looked on in horror gathered around a small TV at my school when the Challenger fell apart in the sky above us.    30 years of boldy striking forth into the inky blackness above… Atlantis truly ushers in the end of an era.  I will admit to being a bit weepy over this today, I’m overcome with a deep sense of loss that I can’t quite explain.  For a long many years my dreams flew to the stars in those shuttles and I wonder if now I’ll need to dream in russian.  So it is with a sad, yet proud heart that I salute all the courageous men and women of NASA and their migthy flying behemoths.  You will be remembered and missed.