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July, 2011:

The End Of An Era

Living in central Florida, I’ve become accustomed to seeing the space shuttle come and go over the years. It’s amazing to be able to walk out my front or back door and watch as seven astronauts blast off into space. You feel it in your bones when the shuttle returns and those sonic booms hit. This morning I heard the sonic booms for the very last time.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve taken the space shuttle program for granted. I get goose bumps every time I watch that spaceship launch into space. I remember where I was when Challenger exploded. I hold my breath during every launch until I see those solid rocket boosters separate from the shuttle. I remember when Columbia disintegrated upon reentry. I hold my breath every time she’s coming in for a landing until she’s safe and sound and stopped on the runway. The space program has always awed me.

Living her for all these years, I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I only made it over to the coast for one launch. It was the 3rd to the last launch. Seeing it up close was awe inspiring. I can’t really describe the feeling of watching that great ship launch over the water. The roar of her engines is something I can’t accurately describe.

As I lay in bed waiting for the booms this morning, I was happy, relieved and sad when I finally heard them. Happy and relieved because she made it home on her last flight safe and sound. Sad because it is the last time I will ever hear that boom boom. I have an immense amount of respect for all the astronauts that have taken that brave ride into space. I’m sad to see the program come to an end.

These are some pictures I took at the launch I was privileged enough to see up close.

Justice?

Living in Orlando, we’ve dealt with the Casey Anthony case far longer and in far more detail than the rest of the world. I watched along with the rest of the world as the verdict was read. I wasn’t shocked that they did not find her guilty of first degree murder, but I was beyond shocked that she was not found guilty of aggravated manslaughter. Yes, the case was largely circumstantial, but the bottom line is someone put duct tape on that child’s mouth. Someone put that child in a trash bag and threw her in a swamp like yesterday’s garbage. Whether Casey meant to kill her child or it truly was an “accident that snowballed out of control”, the bottom line is the same. A child is dead. HER child is dead.

I understand that Casey must feel relief for being found not guilty of murder or manslaughter. But it’s a disgrace to her daughter’s memory to act so joyful in the courtroom after the verdict was read. There should be no joy. Your child is still dead. How can you be happy about that? How can you stand in that courtroom and smile and laugh with your attorneys when your child is dead? That I will never understand.

What’s been lost in this entire farce of a trial is the person this is all about in the first place. Caylee Marie Anthony. She was a beautiful little girl whose life was cut far too short. She was a beautiful little girl whose death will never be settled in the American justice system.

This is who this trial was supposed to be about, and that got lost in the circus.

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