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Sunday, February 02, 2003

A few years ago, I was in Florida, driving up the east coast on highway A1A, which is as far east as you can get and not be in the Atlantic Ocean. It was night, and I was driving over a long bridge, when I saw something very beautiful in the sky. It started out like a streak of orange flame, and then, as it rose, it burned bluer and brighter than anything I'd ever seen -- the nursery rhyme line "like a diamond in the sky" suddenly had meaning, a huge, blazing, blue-white diamond of flame, and I pulled over to the side of the bridge and watched it rise and rise and rise; and realised I watching a space shuttle launch, one that had been delayed for days because of dodgy weather, and now it was launching and I was watching it, and I felt very proud to be part of something -- humanity, I suppose -- that had put that flaming diamond up there. And eventually it rose out of sight, and I drove north.

There are people dead now, and hurt, and pain, and questions. But I still feel proud to be part of the thing that made it.
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