Many of you have been known to call me a Pollyanna -- way too optimistic and more inclined to believe the good than buy the bad.
I say, guilty as charged. That's why I'm not prepared to dump on NASA over this Columbia tragedy.
To be sure, it is a disaster of monstrous proportions. And nothing I say now, or we investigate now, is going to bring those seven brave souls back.
I think I can say they were pretty proud of what they did and pretty proud of the space program. They realized NASA made mistakes in 1986 with the Challenger and would likely make mistakes again. Such is the inherent risk of space travel.
But they also realized the great things NASA did. Like land a man on the moon -- actually 12 men on the moon. Landing unmanned vehicles on Mars and sending others to distant galaxies.
Building Skylab and the International Space Station and the Hubble Telescope, affording a view of stars and planets millions of light years from our own.
NASA has stoked our imagination and screened our planet. It has found water in the Sahara and ozone depletion in our hemisphere. It has found ways for poor nations to grow food and rich ones to seed man's age-old desire to learn.
Yes, it has crashed vehicles, but it has soared spirits. Its triumphs far outnumber its tragedies.
It is bloodied now, but it should not be counted out now.
It is what makes America great and it is up to America to make it greater.
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