I suspect America shares my thoughts tonight.
From day one when the headlines announced that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured from a gunshot wound to the head this nation has had two folks in their thoughts and prayers.
First the Congresswoman.
That a public servant was shot while conducting a time with constituents is one of the most upsetting and tragic stories in many months. After a near death experience one can only be amazed at Giffords’ recovery. She seems to be progressing at a level of speed that inspires those able to see it. Clearly, this is a major blessing and answer to prayers.
Shortly after the shooting took place America started to become aware of another victim to this senseless gun crime.
Astronaut Mark Kelly.
The space shuttle commander was ready to do whatever was required to assist his wife following the shooting. That was never in doubt. Kelly sat by Giffords’ bed, encouraged her, and remains committed to the long recovery that anyone with a gun injury of this type requires.
As Kelly sat by his wife’s bedside we were also aware there was another seat he needed to occupy.
Today came the news that many of us wanted to hear.
Mark Kelly will command the shuttle Endeavour for its final mission come April. Everything was thrown up in the air at the time of the shooting but with Giffords making progress in rehabilitation it is clear that Kelly’s place this spring is in space.
When the dramatic images of the launch take place this spring, and millions around the globe watch the rocket lift away from earth, we can again know that with prayers and the strength of the human spirit all things are possible.
Several weeks ago there were many, and I suspect Mark Kelly was one of them, who thought Frederick Sturckow would command this shuttle flight. Sturckow was named by NASA to prepare for the flight had Kelly been unable to do so in light of the severity of Giffords’ gunshot wound.
While Frederick Sturckow surely wants to travel like any other astronaut into space, this is the time to champion the fact that Kelly will fulfill the mission he was called on to accomplish.
Good will overcome the evil that took place when Giffords was shot. We need to have moments like this, not as Americans but as humans, when the good guys prevail. When in the face of utter hell things work out.
America will ride in spirit, for so many reasons, when Mark Kelly is launched by a rocket towards the heavens.
Godspeed to Gabrielle and Mark.