Vol. 22, No. 5,514 - The American Reporter - September 7, 2016



by Joe Shea
American Reporter Editor-in-Chief
Hollywood, Calif.
February 1, 2003
+ In Memoriam +
The Brave Crew of STS-107
"May They Guide Our Ships"

A SONNET FOR THE SHUTTLE CREW

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HOUSTON, Feb. 1, 2003 -- The space shuttle Columbia was lost at approximately 8:58 a.m. EST this morning in a catastrophic explosion over Texas, possibly caused by damage to heat tiles on the left wing, which was struck by hardened foam blown off the booster tank at the time it separated from the shuttle shortly after takeoff from Cape Canaveral 16 days ago.

The shuttle, which had not visited the International Space Station but remained in orbit around the Earth, was due to land in Florida when mission controllers in Houston noticed the loss of various heat sensors on the left tire and wing and then lost radio contact with the crew. According to video of the tragedy, the craft appeared to break into several pieces as it streaked across a blue sky in "perfect" weather about 16 minutes from landing.

President George Bush, in a speech to the nation this morning, offered condolences to the families of those lost in the tragedy and vowed that the American space program will continue.

The American Reporter joins with the rest of the nation and the world in mourning the loss of the Columbia STS-107 crew.

"The Seven Stars"

Say not that they shall not return again,
These challenged souls whose hopes were joined in ours;
Nor blame the flaws and blasted hopes of men
Whose hands and hearts still lift them to the stars;
Speak not the grief, nor pause to weep, nor toll
The loss that families, friends and nations feel,
But with this yearning stirred in mankind's soul
Bring forth a dream not even death can steal;
O ye with planted feet astride the Moon
Who grazed your craft upon a plain of Mars,
Say not, Thy Voyagers shall not return,
Say, Steer our ships to these, the seven stars;

And should we meet with fearsome shapes of night
May seven gallant souls lead ours to light.

- Joe Shea

This poem was composed for the crew of the Challenger in 1987 and ran on KFWB overnight as a tribute sponsored by The Committee to Draft U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, which I then chaired.

Copyright 2016 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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