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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Space shuttle flyover is an intergalatic hit

Discovery's second cruise over the National Mall above the National Museum of the American Indian (left) and the National Air and Space Museum (right) on its way to the U.S. Capitol/Patricia Leslie

In the distance to the right of the Washington Monument, Discovery approaches the National Mall for its third flyover/Patricia Leslie

Discovery comes/Patricia Leslie

Onlookers on Seventh Street, NW, as Discovery approaches the Smithsonian Castle/Patricia Leslie

Discovery from Seventh Street, NW/Patricia Leslie

Discovery from Seventh Street, NW with a fighter jet, escort/Patricia Leslie

Discovery from Seventh Street, NW escorted by a fighter jet, with barbed wire from the Mall soil aeration project(?)/Patricia Leslie
Discovery heads to the U.S. Capitol/Patricia Leslie

In the distance Discovery flies to the right of the U.S. Capitol where throngs stand on landings to watch/Patricia Leslie

Can you find Discovery over the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on its second flyover?/Patricia Leslie

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury,
I present to you, Discovery, on its adieu flight with a note of gratitude to all those who funded and engineered and planned and completed its mission and everything else.  (Why, that would!)

Incredible! Stupendous! Bravo!

Talk about a mind-blowing scene: Here it came, from the direction of the Washington Monument while we stood on 7th Street on the Mall waiting, waiting, waiting for what was to be a numbing, emotional scene, the likes of which we'll never see again.

After the first flyby, we were ready to applaud Discovery, NASA, and all the thousands who have made the space shuttle program the success it has been.

It was magnificent to behold. The people of the United States put this 30-year show together, including the logistics for Discovery's retirement celebratory tour at our nation's capital.

It's as if they (the big 747, the mother ship, carrying her wee one on her back) were almost flying in slow motion, escorted by a fighter jet, and I suppose a wing tip and salute to us the people down below were all in the imagination.

Everybody on the ground wore big smiles and happiness, and no complaints about anything were heard. (Not even about those confounded dust-blowing machines at work on the soil project on the Mall. What?) 

In the days of criticism heard round the world about the U.S. government, in the days of negative hearings on Capitol Hill and those in and beyond the Beltway, on the day taxes were due, to those who say the "government" can't do anything right, I say: Attention, y'all: The government got it right today.

You go, government! I am proud to be a part.

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the people who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I'd gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

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