Before "Star Trek" (1966) and "Star Wars" (1977) there were men who went in space and took our breath away. I don't think very much about the Mercury Astronauts, who are all wrapped up with junior high school and algebra and President Kennedy, but in 1963 I thought of them a lot. I never wanted to be an astronaut, but their courage left a deep impression on me.
On a spring night a few weeks ago I was walking on Lower Broadway and came upon this inscription set into the sidewalk. It commemorates the ticker tape parade that greeted Astronaut Gordon Cooper's visit to New York City. Cooper piloted the Faith 7 and orbited the earth 22 times. This doesn't sound like very much today, but then we cheered for the accomplishment it truly was.
The number of ticker tape parades was significantly cut back in 1966 -- there are a lot of sidewalk markers before then -- and they, like ticker tape, are rare. If the Mets or Yankees win the World Series, there will be a ticker tape parade. The one I remember most vividly was held to honor the American Embassy personnel after they were freed from being held hostage in the US Embassy in Teheran in 1981.
So we begin Memorial Day weekend 2015, remembering those who went out in courage for America. Whether they went around the earth, to the Normandy beaches, Iwo Jima or Afghanistan, we thank them and remember them.
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.