Chair Force Engineer

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Among the Stars

I would be remiss if I did not extend my deepest condolences to astronaut Daniel Tani and his family after losing his mother Rose last week. By all accounts, Rose Tani lived a remarkable life. How many interned Japanese-Americans could have dreamed, during the dark days of World War II, of having an astronaut son? She will be dearly missed, although her will and her vitality will always be reflected in the family she leaves behind on this earth.

I had the pleasure of meeting astronaut Daniel Tani nearly ten years ago. He is truly a remarkable man of great accomplishment, and lives up to the public image that has been crafted over time for America's astronauts. He was extremely personable and willing to share from his knowledge and experience with the school audience he was speaking in front of. The strength of his character is undoubtedly the imprint of Rose Tani. I consider myself fortunate that the first shuttle launch I saw in person was Dan Tani's first mission on STS-108.

One can only imagine how an astronaut copes with death from the isolation of the space station, surrounded by the cold blackness of space and separated from loved ones on earth. It reminds one of how the Space Station crew must have felt when Columbia's crew was lost on February 1, 2003 (as chronicled in Too Far From Home by Chris Jones.)

In this bittersweet holiday season, please remember the Tani family in your hearts and prayers. And from her celestial perch, Rose Tani will continue to watch over her son as he completes his most important mission of all.