Friday, May 04, 2007

Walter Schirra, 1923-2007

When I was a young boy, this picture and pictures of all the other Mercury Seven astronauts hung on my bedroom wall alongside model spacecraft and posters and anything else I could get my hands on concerning the space program. I had a lot of stuff, because my father worked at Hanger S, where early astronauts were suited up for their trip into the unknown. He used to joke about peeing next to them.

I guess the last space-related thing that dad gave me was a piece of rail from Launch Complex 14, where Wally Schirra and other heroes sat strapped atop ICBMs waiting for their ride into the unknown.

Now Wally is making a final trip into the unknown. And so today I think back to those days when the roads and the beaches were packed with hundreds of thousands of onlookers; to the countdown echoing from their transistor radios; to the shouts of "Go! Go!" as we tried to will the rocket into the sky; to the crackling, fading thunder as the Atlas climbed away.

Those were special times in my life, made even more special by my dad, Harvey Roach. Today would have been his 75th birthday. We miss you Dad.

Godspeed, Wally Schirra, and be sure to say hello to Harvey.

No comments: