Delirious Burning Blue
February 3, 2003

Mathra woke me up with the news. It seems so trite to say I couldn't believe it. But I couldn't -- not again. Not now. Not ever.

But our friends had a baby that morning. Little Jackson woke to life as seven others fell asleep. When we got to talk to them, we didn't bring up Columbia and neither did they. It was their moment to celebrate. It was our moment to block out the CNN images and be happy with them.

I became obsessed with re-looking up Reagan's speech from 1986 so I could remember the quote that makes me shudder and smarts my eyes. It could very possibly be the most moving thing I ever heard. Will ever hear. I knew Bush couldn't top it, so I put him on mute and read a 19 year-old pilot's words, penned as he flew off to his death.

The only thing that can offer comfort to family member, friend, co-worker, or countryman is that they died doing what they loved and wouldn't have done it any other way.

It's small comfort but we take what we can grasp.

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