February 01, 2003


What can anyone say? I'm mulling over how this feels compared to Challenger. That day I felt devasted. I remember that I logged into Compuserve and printed out the wire service reports all day. I brought them to campus for my afternoon class and posted them on the hall bulletin board. Getting access to news online was a novelty then.

Today, I'm drained, not devastated, and wondering what's different. Is this one easier because we've already been through this once? Or because I'm older now? Has 9-11 made us all more stoic or jaded?

Watching Columbia's launch in April, 1998 was a high point of our four month family motorhome trip. We listened to the radio as the launch time got closer and traffic bunched up and slowed to a crawl. A few minutes before liftoff, having gotten as close as we could, we pulled off to the side of the road along with everyone else. Though we were miles away from the launchpad, we could feel the deep rumble of the engines in our chests while Columbia rose on a curving column of smoke into the afternoon sky. I'll never forget it.


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