Garmong on the Spirit of Columbia

Bob Garmong has written a moving tribute to last year’s Columbia disaster for the ARI MediaLink:

The space program is the condensed essence of this American soul. While most cultures through history have gazed with uncomprehending awe at the vast mysteries of space, NASA brings one mystery after another into the realm of human understanding. While others see only an impossibly long list of insurmountable problems, NASA solves them, one by one. While others dwell in humility at man’s smallness in the face of the universe, NASA proudly extends our command of that universe. While others see heavens filled with jealous gods, NASA sees a source of solutions to earthly problems.
What was lost over the southwestern skies a year ago was more than a single vehicle and its crew, more than a handful of scientific experiments. It was the grandest visible expression of the best within us: the intensely purposeful, heroically disciplined application of the rational mind in the service of man’s life.
To appreciate the deepest meaning of the space program, one need not support any particular approach to space exploration?such as the choice of manned versus unmanned flights, nor even the existence of NASA itself: one can argue, as I do, that space exploration should be run by private companies. But the memory of the fallen astronauts requires of us to remember, and revere, the spirit of Columbia, which is the essence of human greatness.

Read the whole article.