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“Ready in 2 Minutes!”

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How many times have I tossed this reassurance to my kids before rushing out the door for another day in the world?  It is usually my son who calls me to task: “Your 2 minutes, or a real 2 minutes?!” His question is not unreasonable; sometimes “my 2 minutes” lasts longer than 120 seconds. What is it that I wish to accomplish in those last 2 minutes? And why do I feel the need to give a 2-minute warning about my readiness to leave?

A lot can happen in 2 minutes.  This morning at 5:58 a.m. EDT, the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed safely on Earth.  Just 2 minutes later, my clock radio began broadcasting the news.  Catching the NPR reporter mid-sentence, my brain slowly began to process my unexpected feelings of loss.

I had not intended to watch the landing on television.  Since 1986, I have had no desire to witness a shuttle take-off or landing.  I remember every detail of the day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. I was studying quietly in a corner when a librarian’s voice on the public address system sliced open the enveloping silence of the Bryn Mawr College library.  I also remember exactly where I was and how I felt when I learned, seventeen years later, about the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia.  Last night I went to sleep with a vague sense of discomfort, an unfocused anxiety about the much-anticipated event of this morning.

In the 2 minutes before I awoke today, my subconscious self remembered the last 25 years.  In the 2 minutes I spent watching the ABC News video clip of the Atlantis landing, my fully-conscious self remembered 14 people who did not live to experience these 2 minutes today.  I will try to revisit those 2 minutes of tribute throughout my day, perhaps spending even more than 120 seconds honoring the memory of the astronauts whose lives ended before NASA’s Space Shuttle program was relegated to its place in history.

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Comments (3)

I myself had to shed a little tear for that tragic day in 1986 when we all prayed (that against all possible reason) they would find the shuttle crew alive. That was the last launch I watched. Thank you for the remembrance to those who lost their lives in order to expand our horizons.

My friend Corey-Jan directed me to your blog and I am so grateful that she did!

As for two minutes, I love the part about real two minutes or the two minutes as I live them and my family experiences them!

Yes, much can happen in two minutes and your thoughts on the Shuttle return were well put. I will be back!

Thanks, Fran! Any friend of Corey-Jan… Hope you will subscribe to RSS & add your comments to the ongoing conversation. Be well!

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