On January 29, NASA pays tribute to the astronauts of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia.
It always seems to me wrong to romanticize death - especially preventable death - and I'm trying hard to avoid it. There's nothing romantic about dying of asphyxiation or impact forces. There are times, though, when some words, sentimental though they seem, must be used.
"Heroes" is one such word. We throw it around a lot. It's used for star athletes when they win a big game. So I think we certainly should bestow it on the lost explorers of humanity. These are people who knew they were taking risks. People who trained and competed for years for the right to take those risks. People who represented the best our species had to offer.
We will never forget.
"I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth....put out my hand and touched the face of God." - John Gillespie Magee, "High Flight"