My family's fascination with our country's space travel has always been active. I recently wrote about my trip to Florida and the Space Center. There is another story to tell. Years ago when my children were still all at home we had an opportunity to see the space shuttle land at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Tickets were free and available locally. This was a once in a life time treat for our cash strapped family. They were expecting people in the thousands to attend and watch the shuttle landing.
The children piled into our newly purchased used car, I patted my pocket to make sure I had the ticket and off we went across the desert for the 60 miles to the Base. The closer we got to the base we saw larger and larger numbers of cars and buses. Finally we were in a long line of vehicles waiting to enter the Base. Military police personnel would stop each vehicle or bus and then wave it on to the right at a branch in the road. When it was our turn the young man stooped slightly toward the window and said, "Good afternoon. Do you have a ticket?" He was but a few years older than my oldest son. When he told me to take the road to the left I questioned him. But he insisted. " Just keep to the left and you will go around a curve. Keep going and you will see a group of vehicles off to the right. Just pull in there and you will have a good view of the landing."
The older children were frowning and were confused as I was. But...............for some reason I felt we should comply. After all, he was the military police. As we pulled onto the dirt area that he had directed us to, there were other cars parked there and people were getting out of their vehicles. As we moved to the edge of what appeared to be a drop off I realized we were on one side of the air runway and on the other side there were hoards of people. The bleachers were over flowing and military police were trying their best to keep the people in the bleachers. The children and I stood there in shock as we realized that we were with some kind of privileged group.
A person in the group yelled here it comes and we all looked up and had I been 7 feet tall I could have touched the bottom of the shuttle as it went right over our heads. Today I still get chills just thinking of it. There are not enough words to describe that moment. It was magnificent, thrilling, engulfing, and it was American. Many of us stood there and cried. And if this post was going to go snail mail you would find a few splatters on the paper from today's tears.
As people began to get back into their vehicles to leave I realized that most of the men were in uniform. Then I understood. The previous owner had been in the military and had not removed the sticker when he sold the car to us. The guard at the gate had mistaken us for a military family. It was an unexpected blessing for my family. Was this a coincidence? Not hardly. I once read that there are no coincidences. Only blessings and miracles where God may choose to remain anonymous.