Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Endeavor's Safely Home - On a Wing and a Pun

Space Shuttle Endeavor landed safely in Florida an hour ago. "You've given new meaning to higher education," Ground Control told the crew.

It's rare that a pun was so welcome. Barbara Morgan was the first teacher to fly in space since Christa McAuliffe perished with the crew of the Challenger. Usually wounds like this can never be redressed - we can't go back in a time machine and prevent tragedies from occurring.

But, every once in a while, we as a species manage to put in an aftermath which, while never being able to make up for the loss, seems to put us back on track, and rectify the cosmic wrong.

Teachers are special members of our species down here on Earth. It is in their hands, mostly, that the continuation of our culture and civilization is entrusted. When a teacher like Barbara Morgan goes out into space, she is not only continuing but extending the cutting edge of our culture, and providing a lesson not only to her students but the whole world.

The new fleet should be here in a few years. The shuttles still have some missions to go. Let this be the beginning of an end of the age of the shuttle that shines as brightly as this historic mission of the Endeavor.

And, as for rectifying cosmic injustices ... how about Al Gore and his global perspective getting the Democratic nomination for President...

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