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2/7/2003
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Business Technology: 'Sorrow Is Lonely, But You Are Not Alone'

To the InformationWeek community: while much of great significance is happening in the business-technology world this week, please join me in taking a few moments to remember 14 courageous American heroes and the impact they've had and are having on our lives and those of our children.

After the space shuttle Challenger exploded on takeoff, Jan. 28, 1986
"We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years, the United States space program has been doing just that. ... The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them. ... The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'"


-- President Ronald Reagan

We pray for one last landing On the globe that gave us birth; Let us rest our eyes on fleecy skies And the cool, green hills of Earth.

-- Robert Heinlein

At the memorial service for the crew of the space shuttle Columbia, Feb. 4
"Their mission was almost complete, and we lost them so close to home. The men and women of the Columbia had journeyed more than 6 million miles and were minutes away from arrival and reunion. The loss was sudden and terrible, and for their families, the grief is heavy. Our nation shares in your sorrow and in your pride. And today we remember not only one moment of tragedy, but seven lives of great purpose and achievement. ...

"Michael Anderson always wanted to fly planes, and rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel in the Air Force. Along the way, he became a role model--especially for his two daughters and for the many children he spoke to in schools. He said to them, 'Whatever you want to be in life, you're training for it now.' He also told his minister, 'If this thing doesn't come out right, don't worry about me, I'm just going on higher'. ...

"None of our astronauts traveled a longer path to space than Kalpana Chawla. She left India as a student, but she would see the nation of her birth, all of it, from hundreds of miles above. When the sad news reached her home town, an administrator at her high school recalled, 'She always said she wanted to reach the stars. She went there, and beyond.'

"Ilan Ramon also flew above his home, the land of Israel. He said, 'The quiet that envelops space makes the beauty even more powerful. And I only hope that the quiet can one day spread to my country.' Ilan was a patriot, the devoted son of a holocaust survivor who served his country in two wars. 'Ilan,' said his wife, Rona, 'left us at his peak moment, in his favorite place, with people he loved.' ...

"This cause of exploration and discovery is not an option we choose; it is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation. We find the best among us, send them forth into unmapped darkness, and pray they will return. They go in peace for all mankind, and all mankind is in their debt.

"Yet, some explorers do not return. And the loss settles unfairly on a few. The families here today shared in the courage of those they loved. But now they must face life and grief without them. The sorrow is lonely, but you are not alone. In time, you will find comfort and the grace to see you through. And in God's own time, we can pray that the day of your reunion will come.

"And to the children who miss your Mom or Dad so much today, you need to know they love you, and that love will always be with you. They were proud of you. And you can be proud of them for the rest of your life. The final days of their own lives were spent looking down upon this Earth. And now, on every continent, in every land they could see, the names of these astronauts are known and remembered. They will always have an honored place in the memory of this country. And today I offer the respect and gratitude of the people of the United States. May God bless you all."

-- President George W. Bush


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Bob Evans's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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