May Columbia lift us

Once again, sadness falls upon our nation. Columbia, an American comet, fell to Earth with seven human stars shining within.

This shuttle to and from outer space held the hopes of seven now tear-bound families, and all mourn and pray for them.

The same technologic achievement that lifted the lost ones communicates their passing ceaselessly over airwaves into newsprint, radio speakers and television screens around the globe.

The last time we gasped at such relentless, tragic images was Sept. 11, 2001, when more than 2,000 lost their lives in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and New York.

As we viewed the sorrow in the skies of Texas, commentators recapped the 1986 shuttle horror that saturated the airwaves.

Lately, the airwaves have been filled with anything but good news—corporate corruption, economic failure, diplomatic failures in Korea, the Mideast and the seeming failure of intelligence in general. War drums pound in Washington, D.C., and few in power question that electronic beat. That beastly rhythm drives an anti-American sentiment around the world to an extent that we have never seen. America is seen as the rogue nation.

The technology we communicate with, the technology that America was positively famous for, the very science that lifts us to the skies, can rain death from above, from Earth and from the depths of the sea.

The Columbia shuttle mission crew, poignantly, had a true representation of our neighbors from across the water who have joined our land in joy and sorrow—an African-American, an Indian-American and an Israeli.

These joyful crew members we have seen on tape symbolized the best we have to offer—hope, rising above the world’s sadness in their native lands for internecine warfare, the AIDs epidemic and possible nuclear war. Now, they are gone, and more gloom and uncertainty seems to veil our countenances. How many have been heard saying, “I was really down this weekend, after I heard that news.”

To make matters worse, this is the week Secretary of State Colin Powell stood before the UN Security Council to argue for war. Get ready for technology to bring more dead Americans, more dead innocents who could offer hope to the world—godawfully, all in the name of peace and security. Death seems more real to us after this weekend.

That reality will only intensify if the Dogs of War are on the loose. We must contain our animal nature, as we must contain our technology to purposes that lift us to the sky, rather than purposely blowing humans into pieces.

We must maintain and expand the purpose of NASA. Let’s build that moon base, and send a mission to Mars for the same. Our money is a thousand times more well spent in funding space exploration and knowledge than funding death and destruction that does nothing but line the pockets of the corporations of the military-industrial complex and fill the coffins of families who don’t deserve such bloody, oily grief.

By definition, Columbia is the feminine symbol of America. Let the mothers of this land and all lands stand up and say: “No more, no more of our sons’ and daughters’ blood shall disappear into the sand. Our sacrifices are only worth the loss when hope shines brighter for the challenge of the brighter skies they sought.”

May we learn and achieve by the brave and brilliant examples of the crew of Columbia:

Commander Rick D. Husband

(second flight)

Pilot William C. McCool

(first flight)

Payload Specialist Michael P. Anderson (second flight)

Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla

(second flight)

Mission Specialist David M. Brown

(first flight)

Mission Specialist Laurel B. Clark

(first flight)

Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Israel

(first flight)

May God bless and give further blessing and solace to the families of these men and women.

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