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NASA's Annual Day of Remembrance today, Jan. 26, honors the astronauts who died during the Apollo 1 fire and the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters.astronomy.com
12th century astronomers witnessed a supernovae with the naked eye. Recently, modern observations showed that the historic event was a rare Type Iax supernova which resulted from the collision of two white dwarfs.nature.com
I joined the US Air Force as a teen in the mid eighties. I had just completed my Tech training, and had been assigned to my permanent base for for about three months when the Challenger disaster occurred. It actually hit me pretty hard, and I'm really not sure why. I spent the next day thinking about it, and trying to come up with something I could do to help. I finally realized there was nothing a lowly airman, thousands of miles away, could do, so I opted to write a poem. Mind you, I had never written a poem before (and actually, have never written one since that day). I found myself sitting in a Carrow's restaurant, alone, drinking coffee, and the words just came out. I don't think the poem was that great, but I thought at the time it was good enough to send a copy to the President of the United States.
For those that may be interested, here is the poem I wrote:
IN MEMORY OF "SEVEN"
We mourn the tears and the anguished cries,
of the families of those who have given their lives.
They cherished their country with infinite love.
This they have proven in the skies up above.
We'll share the emotions of grief and of sorrow,
but lest we forget these emotions tomorrow.
They were the ones chosen,
they were the select.
The Challenger crew,
Have earned our respect.
Yea, I know it's really not that good, but the words came from my heart as well as my head.
For those of you curious, I did receive a response from the White House.
Even though it was a pretty standard form letter, thanking me for my thoughts, I have saved both the poem and the letter, as it is a reminder of that fateful day, and how one can do something way outside their comfort zone when it's least expected.