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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon The Space Shuttle Columbia launched for the first time in April of 1981; I considered it a slightly early present for my twelfth birthday. I remember watching a tape of the launch broadcast on the noontime news on a television in school. We stopped class and watched as the huge, white chevron was propelled into the sky on a tower of fire on a bright Florida morning. Twenty-eight times Columbia launched into space, and twenty-seven times it returned safely. On Saturday I watched, on every channel, as it returned to Earth in a plume of fire on a bright Texas morning. Columbia was a fixture in the space program as long as I can remember. I had looked forward to the day, a couple of decades from now, when it would have been retired to a museum so I could see it up close. Columbia, and even more so the seven astronauts who lost their lives bridging the chasm to a permanent human presence in space, will be missed.
(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs The show must go on.

There are things you can do at this moment to help. If you're an American, write to your elected representatives. Tell them you support the manned space program. NASA is an easy target when budget-cutting time rolls around, and every expression of support makes a huge difference.

If you are instead one of our readers from one of the other 189 fine countries around the world, then... I still suggest that you do exactly the same. I don't care if the first person on Mars is from America, Russia, China, Britain, Canada, or any other nation in the world. Accomplishments like that do not belong to any one country. When it happens, whoever does it, I'll be standing up and cheering along with everyone else.