Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bittersweet Moment for AM~Erica

So anyway...

Yesterday marked something important in [American] history. After 30 years, the NASA space shuttle program launched it's last shuttle mission with the Atlantis. Only with a slight hiccup at T-minus 31 seconds, it lifted off majestically & beautifully.

I remember (vaguely) being awakened early in the morning to watch the very first of the shuttle program take off, back in 1981. I remembered I was in 1st grade. This NASA program has been a part of so many lives...and childhoods, for those 30 years.

I remember, as a kid, going on family vacations (usually tied into one of my dance competitions) & my parents planning trips around that. As I got thinking, we visited the space museum in Hutchinson, KS, space camp in Huntsville, AL...and even the Kennedy Space Center in FL (twice in the same week, I might add). So this program has pretty much been ingrained into my brain from nearly the get-go. Since so many astronauts & engineers that work for NASA say they wanted to be a part of that because of Star Trek...and the fact my dad's a Trekkie...I guess this all makes sense.

With that said, my family made sure to tune in yesterday morning to make sure to watch that last liftoff. And, I will admit, I got choked up. As I was making sure my 13-year-old son was up for it, I was trying to build the excitement of it...and literally got choked up instead. This was a moment where another portion of many of our childhoods are coming to a close. This is a difficult thing to face considering so many of my generation swear we will never grow up...and then we face a moment like this.

However, was our society pretty desensitized to the space program in the last several years? Back in the day, a shuttle launch was a HUGE deal! As of late, we were hearing that a mission was already completed, or they were showing a landing...or we would hear about yet another delay in take off. I feel like so many of us took this amazing program for granted. Not sure how much of it was people, but society & media instead. Now we have so many other channels to watch; too many other websites to check out; schedules are too jam-packed. So sad that the end of it all completely crept up on us. I mean...WHERE has 30 years gone?

Now, going back to when I said I remember watching the 1st lift off of Columbia when I was in 1st grade, I realized I recently said this in a previous post about the Royal Wedding. So, out of curiosity, I Googled when the 1st launch took place. I made an interesting statistical discovery that has a slight Lincoln-Kennedy-type thing going:

In 1981, the 1st NASA space shuttle launch happened in April & the Royal Wedding of Charles & Diana happened in July; in 2011, the Royal Wedding of William & Catherine (Kate) happened in April & the final NASA space shuttle launch happened in July. Oh, along the Lincoln-Kennedy tie-in even? The shuttles are launched from Kennedy Space Center! Talk about a bookend set of events...

You know...I watched the final liftoff yesterday and cried. It's so bittersweet. So amazing what the shuttle portion of the program has done for 30 years, yet heartbreaking that the toys & keepsakes of space though the childhood of Gen X & beyond surrounded the space shuttles.

But...we moved from the rockets/capsules of early space exploration, to the shuttles, now NASA is looking to travel beyond. Yesterday it was brought up that going back to the moon & trying for Mars exploration are in their sights. They did use the term "Deep Space" and they were quoting Gene Roddenberry about finding new frontiers. So cool hearing from astronauts! Maybe we need to work on our Vulcan greetings - looks like some sort of "First Contact" may happen sometime in the future.

For all those kids out there who are looking to be a part of the NASA program...I am so excited for where you all will be able to help take this program! And it is a great partnership that can be kept internationally as Russia is still sending flights into space. So, learn Russian & a few other languages to be able to increase the horizons of human space exploration together!

And to NASA, I say, "Live Long & Prosper."

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, July 4, 2011

AM~Erica's Holiday Greeting Smack-Down

So anyway...

Today, as I look at the calendar, is July 4, 2011. If I am correct, this is a day that an important holiday falls on in American history & culture. But, wait a minute, what is it called again? Oh yes...INDEPENDENCE DAY!

I am trying to figure out what other holiday we celebrate where we call it by the day/date:

Happy 1st of Janurary!

Happy 14th of February!

Happy 17th of March!

Happy 5th of May!

Happy 3rd Sunday of May!

Happy 4th Monday of May!

Happy 3rd Sunday of June!

Happy 1st Monday of September!

Happy 31st of October!

Happy 25th of December!

As you are reading through these, do they sound ridiculous to say? Of course they do! Because we wish the actual holiday name to others in our greetings on each of those days! OK, so the closest on is 5th of May, but we do actually say "Cinco de Mayo" to use for it.

And when it is our birthday, or someone else's, do we wish them "Happy [date]"? NO! We tell them "Happy Birthday"! We just celebrated my brother's birthday on July 2nd. We are certainly NOT going to tell him, "Hey! Happy 2nd of July, Dan! Have fun!"

So think about this as we celebrate today wishing our great nation "Happy Birthday" and greeting each other with "Happy INDEPENDENCE Day".

Just something to think about as you greet each other for cookouts & fireworks...and whatever else it is that you all have planned. And remember we get to celebrate our independence because of our soldiers & troops, through the years, who have helped to keep it that way. Thank a soldier & vet that we get to celebrate today! (Because we CERTAINLY don't wish them "Happy 11th of November".)

Have a wonderful, fun-filled, safe & thankful INDEPENDENCE DAY, everyone!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica