Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth

We here at the Starbase know the definition of the word “hero.” And while we joke of our time “among the stars,” we also respect and admire those men and women who actually do dare to journey beyond these earthly confines, regardless of the perils that may await them.

On January 28, 1986, seven of these astronauts—Francis “Dick” Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair, Gregory B. Jarvis, and S. Christa McAuliffe—set off on their own journey to the stars aboard the shuttle Challenger. Tragically, their mission ended with all hands lost. To many, this was our “JFK” moment: a defining disaster whose haunting images remain forever etched into our mind’s eye.

Today, 25 years later, we remember their courage. Perhaps President Reagan said it best in his speech, written with unparalleled eloquence by Peggy Noonan:

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 the journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”

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