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Tag: Ellison S. Onizuka

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_I remember that day back in 1986, when we were watching the launch Christa McAuliffe, the first educator, into space. Then we watched in horror and unbelief when the Challenger exploded a little over a minute into the flight. This was a sobering time and a time for national mourning, not dissimilar to the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, and others. We were all in pain, we all grieved. But today, let’s look back upon the space program and the brave men and women who participated both as astronauts and in the ground crew. We take our “hats” off and thank them for their bravery and willingness to serve on the forefront of our country’s quest of space.

Challenger_flight_51l_crew

In recent history we have witnessed first-hand the explosion shortly after clearing the launch pad of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. This event sent shutters through our bodies in a fashion similar to that that most of us did as we watched Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the moon in 1969. But this time, the reaction was not from the joyful sharing of an event of great import for all mankind, it came from the realization that the entire Challenger crew perished in the explosion. In just a few seconds, we saw the lift-off of the shuttle from the launch pad followed by a puff of white smoke that could be seen when the shuttle broke apart, with different large chunks going in different directions.

At the time, I was working for a school district and witnessed the event “real time,” not on video tape on the evening news. All educators were thrilled by the fact that one of our own, a high school teacher from New England, Christa McAuliffe, was travelling into space. She would be the first civilian to make such a voyage. She was prepared to carry out a number of educational experiments during her time in space and was being followed by schools across the country. But the voice of the TV commentator soon informed us that something terrible had happened a few seconds after launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

420-challenger-crew-1986_imgcache_rev1327533423147

Then we witnessed the debris from the shuttle fall from the sky. With that debris were the bodies of the seven shuttle astronauts. There was no escape. This incident resulted in a suspension of future shuttle flights until the cause of the accident had been determined and remedied. And it turned out that the cause was due to the failure of an O-Ring that cost just a few dollars. After this tragedy, both the equipment checks before launch and the launch procedures themselves were changed. A major cause of the O-Ring failure was the launch in the early morning hours in freezing weather. Ice had been an ever-present hazard to all launches from Cape Canaveral over the years; each crew breathed a sigh of relief when their vehicle had cleared the launch tower. Procedures were instituted that prevented launch until ice would no longer be a hazard.

We now will proceed to examine this event in history in more detail... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3472 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to (Space) Shuttle:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/shuttle.html ]

    

“I can remember in early elementary school when the Russians launched the first satellite. There was still so much unknown about space. People thought Mars was probably populated.”
— Christa McAuliffe

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
— Rick Husband

“When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.”
— Laurel Clark

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbToday we will focus primarily on domestic events since we don’t have any “earthshaking” events on the international scene identified. The closest we come to such an event centers upon a group of recording artists who gave their time and voices to create the blockbuster song “We are the World” that appeared in 1985. This recording was created to raise money for the relief of the people of Africa who were suffering from a terrible famine. The song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and was produced by the Emmy-winning Quincy Jones. The sales from this song raised $60 million for the cause.

Opbushel

On the domestic front, we have three significant events. In recent history we have witnessed first-hand the explosion shortly after clearing the launch pad of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. This event sent shutters through our bodies in a fashion similar to that that most of us did as we watched Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the moon in 1969. But this time, the reaction was not from the joyful sharing of an event of great import for all mankind, it came from the realization that the entire Challenger crew perished in the explosion. In just a few seconds, we saw the lift-off of the shuttle from the launch pad followed by a puff of white smoke that could be seen when the shuttle broke apart, with different large chunks going in different directions.

At the time, I was working for a school district and witnessed the event “real time,” not on video tape on the evening news. All educators were thrilled by the fact that one of our own, a high school teacher from New England, Christa McAuliffe, was travelling into space. She would be the first civilian to make such a voyage. She was prepared to carry out a number of educational experiments during her time in space and was being followed by schools across the country. But the voice of the TV commentator soon informed us that something terrible had happened a few seconds after launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Challenger_flight_51l_crew

Then we witnessed the debris from the shuttle fall from the sky. With that debris were the bodies of the seven shuttle astronauts. There was no escape. This incident resulted in a suspension of future shuttle flights until the cause of the accident had been determined and remedied. And it turned out that the cause was due to the failure of an O-Ring that cost just a few dollars. After this tragedy, both the equipment checks before launch and the launch procedures themselves were changed. A major cause of the O-Ring failure was the launch in the early morning hours in freezing weather. Ice had been an ever-present hazard to all launches from Cape Canaveral over the years; each crew breathed a sigh of relief when their vehicle had cleared the launch tower. Procedures were instituted that prevented launch until ice would no longer be a hazard.

Other significant events on this day have been a bit more upbeat. In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe wrote a song that was initially sung in churches across the North. This song, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” then began to be sung by Union troops as they marched into their battles. It is an uplifting song that I learned in elementary school. It had a catchy tune, uplifting words, and I remember singing it proudly. If you have not done so recently, check out the words to this song; it will raise your spirit and put you into a positive frame of mind. (See the video below for the song’s history.)

The final event of the day was an advance in the quest for equality for minorities. In 1916, Louis Brandeis, a Jew, was nominated as a Supreme Court Justice by President Woodrow Wilson. Brandeis was known as the “People’s Attorney” because of his defense of equal treatment of minority groups. This nomination and its eventual confirmation by the U.S. Senate transpired in the days prior to the entry of the United States into World War I. While a Justice, Brandeis continued to write opinions championing the cause of equal treatment of all men, not just the rich or corporations.

It is interesting to note that this confirmation of a Jew to the highest court of our land occurred just twenty years before the beginning of the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people in Germany. As we discussed yesterday, Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem” resulted in the creation of extermination camps to carry out the genocide against the Jews. While the persecution started with the deprivation of Jews of their property rights, it continued into Kristalnacht and then the creation of Jewish ghettos in Eastern Europe. With men like Brandeis watching out for the rights of all Americans, we have avoided that type of persecution for most groups in the 20th century.

Lombardi_Vince_Mural_180-220

On a minor, but inspiring note we find that the Head Football Coach of the Green Bay Packers NFL team was given a contract extension in 1959. This event is not important for its overt contract extension, but to focus our attention upon Vince Lombardi, a man who has provided inspiration to not only his players, but athletes throughout the sports world have benefitted from his inspiring sayings. Men like Lombardi are essential to the maturing of young men and women into good citizens and displaying good sportsmanship.

We need to view the events of this day in a spirit of good sportsmanship, emphasizing the equality of all peoples of our country, and the need to nurture young people to good citizenship and patriotism. We need to put aside the feelings of being better than others and foster a spirit of positive adoption of understanding and cooperation among all groups within our country. This spirit of inclusiveness can avoid the branding of individual or cultures negatively. I have been bothered by the blaming all Muslims for the events of 911 and the destruction of the Twin Towers. Those events were the work of individual radical groups of terrorists, not be Muslims. Yes, I know that there are major cultural differences between our two world views, but understanding I think is a more desirable quest than reacting with hostility. We don’t have to accept their religion or philosophy of life, but we do need to understand their culture and world-view to help prevent such terrorist acts in the future.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1692 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Louis D. Brandeis:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/louis_d_brandeis.html ]

    

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“If we would guide by the light of reason we must let our minds be bold.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“Neutrality is at times a graver sin than belligerence.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“In the frank expression of conflicting opinions lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

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