When the Endeavour space shuttle flew over my school a few weeks ago I did not have one ounce of care in my being. I didn’t understand why all of my friends were posting pictures every 2 minutes and raving about a shuttle that was attached to the top of an airplane.
For some odd reason, however, when a friend tweeted Saturday night that it was making its final trek to the California Science Center, I became rather curious. I don’t know if it was my urge to go on a late night mission or an actual interest in this thing, but I was determined to see the shuttle arrive early Sunday morning.
Although my grand plan for baking brownies and having a sunrise beach devotion failed miserably, we ended up pulling an all-nighter and headed out at 6am to see the shuttle. Once we realized that the shuttle wasn’t across the street, we drove around in search of it. I drove down every street that wasn’t blocked off and busted far too many u-turns until I grew weary and posed the dreaded question, “Is this officially a burnt mission?” To my delight, the Human GPS suggested that we try a few more side streets until we caught up with it.
I drove down dark, sketchy streets and became way too excited when I saw cars double parked in a corner off of King Blvd. I sent the Human GPS out to investigate. He returned with a wide smile and then the search for parking began.
From a distance, all I could see were bright lights and scattered souls. A sudden surge of excitement came over me as I saw elderly couples dressed for church, city officials, and entire families walking West. I lowkey started running once I finally caught a glimpse of the side wing. This is what the hype is all about. Endeavour dominated King Blvd. People of all colors, ages, and stories formed crowds along the sidewalk. Everyone had a camera or phone in hand waiting to get the nicest shot possible to show their unborn grandchildren. It seemed so appropriate to see a space shuttle inching along MLK’s pavement. As a young boy eloquently explained to us why the shuttle had to keep stopping, I realized that this was the integrated learning experience King had dreamed of.
Pre-teens and toddlers stood in solidarity. Children who never had an answer to what they wanted to do when they grew up considered what living in space would be like. Parents who thought they had nothing to offer shared an unforgettable moment with their sons and daughters. I, a 20-year old college senior, was reminded that there was beauty beyond the sky and much more to life than midterms and grad school applications.
To see colorful people willingly gathered in LA streets alongside lines of policemen almost brought tears to my eyes. Instead of asking myself why every day in South LA couldn’t be so peaceful, I reminded my faith that it could be. I don’t know how Los Angeles convinced the universe that it was worthy of hosting its wings, but I’m beyond thankful that it did. I pray that space and endless boundaries welcome our children just as patiently and openly as we have accepted one of its wonders.
I’ll be forever grateful to Los Angles officials for not cutting down the trees planted in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoutout to the California Science Center for becoming even more amazing. And lastly, a huge thank you to Marcus, “Human GPS,” for contributing to a productive all-nighter and being all the way down for the cause.