On Saturday morning I was in the car,
the radio was on;
the space shuttle Columbia had come apart,
the crew of seven was gone.
Thirty-nine miles above Texas,
a Florida touchdown just minutes away:
I drove in silence and listened,
to what the announcer had to say.
The tragedy was not survivable,
smoke and fire streamed across the sky;
debris would be scattered for hundreds of miles,
no one yet knows the reason why.
Shock was the initial reaction,
now the nay sayers speculate;
“we have no business traveling in space,
the cost is much too great.”
With all endeavors there are risks implied,
space exploration must go on;
and the first ones that would tell you that,
are the seven that are gone.
And so will echo the crews of Challenger,
Apollo, and Gemini;
the possibility exists that Columbia’s crew,
will not be the last to die.
The advancements in medical research,
as well as breakthroughs in other fields;
are why the astronauts risk their lives,
to reap the knowledge that outer space yields.
Now is a time for mourning,
not a time for senseless blame;
we must honor their memories and continue support,
for the ranks from which they came.
The families of our fallen astronauts,
must be assured that this nation cares;
and that none of their loved ones died in vain,
they are in our thoughts, and prayers.
But we must continue our missions up there,
and learn what we can in space;
and make a multi-nation effort,
to benefit the human race.
For achievement is the result of sacrifice,
and our astronauts sacrificed all;
in the prime of their lives they were taken,
to answer a higher call.
We will remember them as heroes gone home,
our children’s children will learn of their deeds;
men and women from different nations,
who worked together to meet future needs.
So let us now pay tribute,
to the Columbia’s fallen seven;
as the take their place at the right hand of God,
on their final mission into heaven.
Robert E. Springer