As the seven astronauts blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center today, I had a huge lump in my throat. My dad worked on some of the earliest space missions for McDonnell Corp. in St. Louis.
The words “Cape Canaveral” were magical as I was growing up in the ‘60s, and we dreamed of traveling in space. It could happen -– my dad had models of the Mercury and Gemini at home! We kids were in awe of the possibilities, and Dad was proof that it was within our humble reach.
Now, in another century and with decades of triumph and tragedy behind it, space travel has lost much of that luster. With the world at our Internet-addicted fingertips, kids have far more to capture their fancy.
Or, maybe, just maybe…
Herald reporters Jessica Klipa and Carl Nudi went to school today, joining fourth- and fifth-graders at Kinnan and Abel where the magic was back. They are traveling in space, with their names signed on a banner that is on that shuttle headed to the International Space Station.
The kids sat watching and cheering as Discovery blasted off safely from the Kennedy Space Center. "It's pretty cool," 9-year-old Peyton Jones told Carl. "It's like a part of you is in space."
You can read their stories, and Marty Merzer’s shuttle coverage, in Wednesday’s Herald, and get updates throughout the 14-day mission here on Bradenton.com. But enough for now of blogging and the Internet and all that stuff.
At least for a little bit today, I was back with Dad, a kid who believes in that magic. And believing -– no, knowing -– that Dad’s out there watching with me. Because he never stopped believing in me or in magic and all things possible.