Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ride, Sally Ride

I can't begin to tell you what a hero Sally Ride has been to me.  I have always wanted to be an astronaut.  Ever since seeing Luke Skywalker in that battle trench scene. Sally Ride made me feel like I could.  It was possible.

That's not all though.

She broke stereotypes.  She was a girl that was really good at math.  She pushed Math & Science & their importance in the classroom until the end.

She was the first American woman in space & the youngest person in space.  Yet, rather than the United States focusing on that, they made jokes about how the shuttle delays could now be blamed because Sally couldn't find her purse.  She was asked insulting questions about bras & make-up in space.  People became focused on her reproductive organs & whether or not she could have children if she went to space.

The triumph of her accomplishment lost on caveman and soccer mom like thinking.

It wasn't lost on me though.  I would hear the name Sally Ride & be filled with pride.  I would see her & see myself.  She didn't cake on make-up.  She didn't have to wear a dress.  She didn't get the fuss about being the first woman to do this or that.  She just wanted to fly.  To be out there.

And she did.  She didn't let all that mindless crap get to her.  She was living the dream.

You would be hard pressed to find a picture of Sally Ride not smiling.

The only ones would be when she sat on either shuttle accident panel.  She wasn't smiling then because she was serious and angry about the mistakes & carelessness.  She fought hard for every single shred of information.  She cared deeply about the space program & knew we could do better.

The last shuttle launch was a year ago this month.

Today is another hero of mine's birthday.  Amelia Earhart.

I'm not sure what little girls have to look forward to today.  Who their heroes are.  They will be hard-pressed to have one as great as Sally Ride.

Thanks Sally.  For just being you. 

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