Hearing about the space shuttle Columbia disaster was like hearing about the death of a distant relative. Like some great uncle who was out doing the gardening and dropped dead from a heart attack.

Columbia was always there. While Challenger seemed like the younger sibling who died young, Columbia was older and more mature and just got down to business.

I was only six years old when Columbia made its first flight. I don’t remember it, but I have this odd sentimental feeling about it, the same sort of feeling I’d get if I’d met the great uncle at that age.

I didn’t even know that Columbia was returning from a mission. But When I read the news on I was shocked and saddened. I’m not sure why, but I feel more sad about the explosion of the space shuttle than the death of the astronauts inside it. Maybe it’s because I don’t know any of the astronauts. I don’t even know their names, sex, ethnicity, or background. But I feel like I know Columbia a bit, yeah, just like a great uncle I once met.

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