Where never lark or even eagle flew….

73 seconds after launch on a particularly cold Florida morning 36 years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing astronauts Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.

On March 21st, 1987, a permanent marker paying tribute to the crew was placed at Arlington National Cemetery. The marker’s face features likenesses of the crew and the following dedication:

In Grateful
and Loving Tribute
To the Brave Crew
of the United States
Space Shuttle Challenger
28 January 1986

Inscribed on the back of the marker is this poem:

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
and danced the skies on laughter silvered wings,
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
high in the sunlit silence hov’ring there.
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
my eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew
and while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space
put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

– John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

challenger-crew
L-R: Ellison S. Onizuka, Michael J. Smith, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Francis R. Scobee, Gregory B. Jarvis, Ronald E. McNair, Judith A. Resnik

4 thoughts on “Where never lark or even eagle flew….

  1. I am so grateful you bring NASA’s week of “solemn observance,” as you call it, to our attention every year, without fail. Of the three tragedies — Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia – I must confess this one gutted and guts me the most. Not diminishing the others, but Apollo was before my time, and Columbia happened when I was adult (although I was pretty devastated by its loss, as well).Lots of conflicting emotions, including such anger at the way NASA handled Challenger’s launch. But thank you for lifting up all three of these brave crews so faithfully every year.

    Liked by 1 person

Lay it on me.

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