“We Came Here,
You and I…”
a tribute to the men and women of space exploration
original text by Kel Murdock
We came here, you and I, to this place and this profession, to be great, to do great things, and give form to great dreams – and we have.
Greatness is what we are about.
It’s who we are, and how we want to be, and how we want our world to be.
That demon of fate stole three people one day in a launch pad test.
Some wanted to cancel the lunar program.
But they didn’t, and Borman, Lovell, and Anders read from Genesis orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve two years later.
He almost got three more on Apollo 13 but they caught him by the ears and wrestled their friends away from him.
He beat us on Challenger.
They could have cancelled the program, they didn’t have to keep going, that generation could have just stopped flying.
But they didn’t.
They walked in the footsteps of those who had gone before, fixed things and moved on.
We built a space station confounding the critics who said it was too complicated, too hard and would never work.
We had amazing success for 17 years.
And then he got us again.
And we who are walking in the footsteps of those who lost and won in years past have the task of fixing it, just like they did.
Many years from now when some of the folks working on our teams are walking on Mars, or the Moon, or flying in the cold dark between the planets, that demon will find us again.
And when their children’s children are growing up under alien suns and their ships are plowing the void between the stars, he’ll be there too.
And he’ll win from time to time.
He’s a persistent bastard.
But that demon of fate is a loser.
And the next time he comes he has to work still harder because we keep going and we keep getting better.
When he does win, out there between the stars, and takes our great grandchildren, their families and friends will comfort themselves with stories of those who lost long ago, and picked themselves up and continued on.
They’ll talk about the people who persevered when they lost their friends on that re-entry over Texas.
“The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth;
…yet we can pray that all are safely home.”
It’s February 1, 2003, but it feels like January 28, 1986.
It’s hard to express the feelings… the sense of loss… the helplessness.
I hope this tribute has helped explain the passion that is spaceflight.