I grew up watching space shuttle launches and landings on TV. Like any young boy, space was a fascinating place that I wanted to visit someday. My attempts at reaching space were, alas, limited baking-soda-and-vinegar-fueled film canisters (remember those?) and model rockets.
The space shuttle Discovery arrived in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, to take up residence at the Air and Space Museum at Dulles International Airport. Seeing Discovery flying to its final resting place, discolored and beaten up, was a tangible end to all that I had grown up with.
The shuttle and its carrier 747 left Florida at 7 in the morning. I arrived at the Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles a few minutes after 6, had gotten a parking spot by 7:15, and had scouted out an excellent photo vantage point on a hill a short time later.
A large crowd slowly gathered around the parking lot of the museum. I stood near an older gentleman who saw one of the very first launches of the space shuttle. A woman nearby had flown to Washington from Germany just to watch the shuttle arrive. Dozens of kids ran around with binoculars, straining to spot the plane on the horizon.
"Daddy, this is boring," one of them commented as we stood waiting.
"It's history," his father responded. "History's boring sometimes, but it's still history." … COMPLETE STORY >>