Bryn Gallagher: An endeavor for unity

Bryn Gallagher

The Space Shuttle Endeavor exhibit opens at the California Science Center this week, and although it will be a while before I get to see that, I am going to take this occasion to clear one story out of the backlog that has developed in the last month.

Several Fridays ago was the last flight of the space shuttle Endeavor. Naturally mom and I, being the super geeks that we are, went out to see the historic event of the year. There we were, at roughly 10 a.m., coffees in hand, parked along the side of PCH with about 2,000 other people from just about every walk of life.

All along the coast cars were parked, their occupants piling out and setting up lawn chairs and giant cameras ready for the arrival of the superstar of space travel. Our neighbors in front were a group of Veterans with a “Welcome Home” sign proudly displayed with full patriotic flair, our other neighbors were a well-to-do couple who got out of their Beamer in their slightly preppy sweaters to sit and wait for the interplanetary superstar. {sidebar id=65}

My investigative reporting skills took me down to the beach where I found a group of French tourists, a family, and a slightly confused cyclist who only stopped “because there were so many cars, something big must be going down.” Indeed there was.

Excitement mounted as the hour of the shuttle’s passing approached. People with the radio on yelled out where the shuttle was and we all sat looking up the coast.

All at once it appeared on the horizon and the entire crowd up and down the highway fell silent. A couple from Vermont stopped their Subaru in the middle of PCH to jump out and take a picture of procession, the shuttle and fighters accompanying her.

For that one moment we were all together, all Americans, all humans listening to and seeing history fly by; observing the end of an era.

Soon the sound of the engines faded and as Endeavor became a speck on the horizon everyone hopped back in their cars to head home. Someone honked, someone else flipped the bird and the normal pace of life resumed.

What if we captured that moment? If we could remember that time when we were all similarly awed and happy, all friends. How much could we achieve if we lived everyday like we were waiting for the space shuttle Endeavor?

What do you think?