Millions of Americans grew up with the space program, most never closer to the effort than the flickering images on their television screens -- but safe to say that most were filled with pride by the accomplishments of a dedicated few.
Twelve Americans on the moon. "Routine" shuttle missions to a growing space station. Deep space telescopes pushing farther out into our solar system. Pretty heady stuff, even if you weren't a fan of the program.
Amazing engineering feats aside, the American space effort meant many things for the American people: pride of country, the thrill of expedition, of communal loss when brave pioneers were lost.
Discovery, a space-scarred veteran of the shuttle program, was placed atop is specially designed 747 transport aircraft for one last "Glory Pass" over the nation's capital Tuesday and everyone in Washington turned out to catch a glimpse.
The shuttle, relegated to its future role as an aviation museum centerpiece, was paraded before the nation before the program is scrapped and we turn to the Russians, and private enterprise, to carry our astronauts into space in future.
Many argued that the program needed to end, that America could no longer justify the vast expenditure during hard financial times. Others consider it nothing short of a sin to stop the nation's successful push into space.
Us? Well, Discovery and her sisters were things of beauty, we felt, and NASA, the people who built them and the people who flew in them could be rightly proud of their good work -- an absolutely stunning blend of technology and engineering.
We would have liked to have seen that continue. But that's just us, what about you?