Last November, my son and I had the opportunity to travel to the Kennedy Space Center as part of the Astronaut Autograph & Memorabilia Show, organized by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. It was a phenomenal event. In fact, my son cried for days after because he was so sad to have left Florida.
With that in mind, I decided to share this photo today because January 27, 2012, marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire, which claimed the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. This photo shows my son holding the mission patch for Apollo 1 at the launchpad where this event took place.
While many today may not understand the impact that disaster had on the American space program, I would recommend watching the documentary, When We Left Earth. I’ve watched it via Netflix and more recently purchased the DVD set.
The astronauts my son and I met during our trip (Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Gene Cernan, and dozens more), who knew and worked with these three brave men, spoke very highly of their efforts in the space program, and described how the best way to honor their sacrifice was to continue striving for a successful landing on the moon, which took place two-and-a-half years later.
So to honor these men, and all the men and women who seek to explore the world by going beyond it, I say thank you. Maybe one day, my son will be traveling millions of miles from Earth to explore other planets because of the hard work and sacrifices of these early pioneers in space exploration.