Monday, July 23, 2012

Not Your Typical Hero

Sally Ride had the "right stuff".
When we think of heroes, generally we think of men like John Wayne, Batman, Kobe Bryant, and Barak Obama. Bigger than life, we cannot imagine these folks as, well, just folks! For many years, heros were men. Wonder Woman may have had a TV Show in the 70s, but she was a small force in the tsunami that was the universe of heroes.

Heroes break barriers. They go faster than sound like Chuck Yeager did. They move a nation like Martin Luther King did. Some die for what they believe in. Each, in their own way, risks more than we understand.

Sally Ride was one such hero. I lament that during her life, I did not pay as much attention to her as I should have. She was the first female astronaut to reach space. She was tough, intrepid, and risked much. Most do not remember the astronauts that she travelled with, and all were brave people who embodied the best of humanity. However, she risked more. She was on a bigger stage where we have challenged women for two generations to "prove their equality - prove how good you are." While needing this proof is ridiculous, and while on some terms the quest for equality has gone awry, Astronaut Ride unflinchingly did just that - she "proved it".

Before the Summer of 1969, people wondered who would put the first man on the moon. Over forty years later, I cannot help but wonder who the first person will be on Mars. Whomever it is, they will be "standing on the shoulders of giants"...heroes all. Thank you Sally Ride for the inspiration, the courages, and the heroism.

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