I, Sawyer Rosenstein, was honored to be asked to give a speech at the welcoming ceremony for the Space Shuttle Enterprise at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Below is a transcript of the speech that I gave on Friday, April 27th, 2012:
It is an honor to be here this morning and to be a part of history. Being a part of history is something the Intrepid itself has become well known for with its illustrious military career. Over the last six years, I have had an increasing desire to learn about space, specifically manned spaceflight.
It has become both a hobby and a passion for me. My podcast, “Talking Space”, allowed me to wave goodbye to the Shuttle program as a witness to the final launch last year. With all of this under my belt, I would have thought that I’d have known all of the obvious places to be for space history. However, little did I know there would be a connection to the space program floating in our own backyard.
On top of its history with the recovery of NASA capsules, the Intrepid has been host to numerous space-related events, many of which are truly unique experiences. Onboard the Intrepid, I have met men and woman of space history. I’ve met Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, moonwalkers. I’ve met International Space Station astronaut, TJ Creamer. And, I’ve met Space Shuttle astronauts, the entire crew of the final Space Shuttle mission, STS-135.
The STS-135 crew, the final Shuttle crew, marked the end of an era. Anybody born within the last thirty years knows of no other American means of getting humans into space. The Shuttle represented a dream for this generation. It became an American icon, representing the glory of spaceflight, a symbol of manpower, ingenuity, and patriotism.
After seeing a launch, very few dare not to dream of flying into space one day. Yet, those who are too young to remember this dream, such as my seven year old cousin Rebecca who is here with her second grade class today, might not get to experience that same thrill and excitement that I did. However, that is the important role the Intrepid plays.
Enterprise, along with the amazing team at the Intrepid, will keep the dream of spaceflight alive, and, the mystification and wonder which went through my head first seeing the Space Shuttle, can go through the minds of those too young to remember the awesome might that was the Shuttle, and inspire them the same way I was inspired.
So, welcome Orbiter Vehicle 101, Enterprise, to New York City, and may you continue to awe and inspire us all, young and old, for generations to come.