Feb 09-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: February: Feb 09-03
Remembering the first Shuttle tragedy    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Donn de Yampert

Charlie at Pasty Central on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 03:50 am:

We usually have a photo from the past on Sunday... But this recent sunrise by Donn de Yampert reminded me of a song I had written, along with my wife and son and a friend in Wisconsin, shortly after the Challenger disaster. It was on this day in 1986 we recorded a tribute to the memory of that first crew of 7 Americans, who have now been joined by the 7 members of STS-107.

As we watched the memorial service this past week, while the words of President Bush honored the Columbia 7, it seemed just as appropriate applied to the other crew 17 years earlier.

National tragedies often move us in a very personal way. That morning we were watching coverage of the Challenger lift-off, as a school project for 10-year-old Jonathan. The space program had always been of great interest to our family. But like thousands of others, our excitement became stunned silence as we witnessed history. In the days that followed, our family expressed the way it affected us in a song, along with a friend who helped us put it into words.

It's just a rough draft, but I dug out the cassette from February of '86 and added some of President Bush's remarks. You can hear it in Real Audio, or download the MP3 to go along with these lyrics:

Seven New Stars
In memory of - Richard Scobee
Michael Smith - Christa McAuliffe
Judith Resnik - Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka - Gregory Jarvis

Look to the sky - what do I see?
Seven new stars shining on me,
Seven brave souls from the world set free,
With a light for all people to see...
A light for all people to see.

One winter morning by dawn's early light
Seven Americans came
Ready to go on a Challenger flight -
Soon we would know them by name.

Up the long stairs - through the last door,
This was the moment they'd been waiting for.
Countdown begun - seven now one,
Finally off with a thundering roar!


A teacher named Christa was part of the crew
Invited along for a ride
Leaving her family and classroom behind
Serving her country with pride.

Into the sky - into the light
Riding on top of America's might,
All systems go - rockets aglow
Into the blue what a beautiful sight!


Challenger, Challenger throttle ahead,
Into the heavens above.
All of your children are watching below,
Sending their prayers and their love.

Into the sky - into the light,
Into a fireball burning so bright.
What could we say? What could we do?
All of our dreams were riding with you.


Silently downward the Challenger came,
Streaming like tears from the sky,
Falling away from the friends she had known,
Leaving us wondering why.

Young pioneers - risking their lives
Blazing a trail from the Earth to the skies,
Making a way to follow someday,
The ultimate price for a hero to pay.


What gave the strength to the Challenger crew?
Courage to face the unknown?
Chasing a dream that was bigger than life,
Making the heavens their own.

Into the sky - into the light
Knowing a new day will follow the night,
Finding the faith for what we must do,
We'll always remember the Challenger crew.

(chorus and final comment)
Words and music by: Charlie and Edie Hopper,
Jonathan Hopper and Gene Amann (c) 1986-2003
Comments courtesy whitehouse.gov

Thank you for stopping by Pasty Central. This month completes 5 full years of the Pasty Cam, and for the balance of February I'll be turning over the controls to Toivo, as Edie and I go south for awhile. Hopefully he'll bring you some coverage of Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech later this week. Have a happy Valentine's Day, happy President's Day, and Lord willing we'll see you again in March.
By Donna on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 07:45 am:

You ROCK! Have a great time and see ya in March!

By jj_greenville_mi on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 07:45 am:

good morning charlie. beautiful photo and great lyrics to song. good luck on your journey south.
have a safe trip. GOD bless.

By ol, mi on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 08:28 am:

A moving song. Godspeed.

By Alex Tiensivu on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 08:48 am:

How absolutely inspiring... Very moving. Stay safe, Charlie.

By Patt, Howell, MI on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 09:09 am:

Charlie your talents & compassion are so very moving. May God keep his hand on you & your wife as you travel to warmer climates. Thank you too as you have left us in the good hands of Tovio so please put us and Still Waters on the back burner of your mind and RELAX & ENJOY! We will be here waiting for some good reports of your wonderful, & rejuvinating trip.

By MMLLMI on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 11:40 am:

WOW on both the photo and the song. Moving, and touching beyond what I can put into words.

By Jack, CA on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 01:15 pm:

Thanks Charlie.

I had the good fortune to be a friend and professional colleague of Greg Jarvis. He was unbelievably well liked by everyone who met him and was chosen from tens of thousands of candidates. I think of him often. What a loss.

By geri, kingsford on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 02:14 pm:

i am amazed at this site when i visit almost daily. i enjoy all the comments..the pictures are amazing. i just listened to charlies tribute to the challenger crew and am further amazed at his talents. what a moving tribute!!!!my hat is off to all those that contribute to this site..the photographers, charlie, toivo and all the fellow yoopers and visitors, i feel like i am visiting over the back yard fence with neighbors when ever i come to this site. have a good day everyone and say a prayer for our last heroes of the space project, the crew of columbia.

By Helen G., Kansas on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

Thanks, Charlie, for a touching song and for the beautiful photo, Donn! Charlie - we'll all miss you when you head south. Have a great vacation! We look forward to your return but know that you have left Pasty Cam in able hands with Toivo. God's blessings to all of you! Pasty.com is always a ray of sunshine in my day! Congratulations on 5 years of PastyCam!

By Mary-Lake Linden on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 03:23 pm:

The talents of the Hopper family never cease to amaze me. A truly talented bunch.......Thanks for sharing your gifts with all of us! Enjoy your time down south. One more thanks for hooking me up with Pasty.net for my own travels south!!

By Jan R, A. H., IL on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 04:54 pm:

Beautiful song and beautiful picture. The man's got TALENT!!

By Fran,Ga. on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 06:04 pm:

The photo is awesome! Everytime I think I've seen the most beautiful photo there is another one to top it!!The song was so touching.Charlie,I hope it is warmer where you are going than it is here.Have a safe trip.

By Doug Smith, Wixom, MI on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 06:15 pm:

Sure hope this one makes a WOW for this week! Have a wonderful trip Charlie.

By Joy Fl. on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 07:05 pm:

Had to Write Thank you for the beautiful song and picture so moving May God Bless You on your trip

By Shirley, Ohio on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 07:05 pm:

Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing the picture and your song. Very touching.

By pegg, fla on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 07:17 pm:

This may sound sad, but the intent is joyful. My fellow co-workers and I were leaving for lunch and stood in the parking lot that cold January day and watched the Challenger blow up. We were so stunned that we cried and ended up drinking a few pitchers of beer to ease the pain of the loss. The beauty of the picture today can show how God's finger can paint a magnificent landscape. As I was driving east into Disney on Monday, still reeling from the loss of the crew of Columbia, I experienced one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. I stood outside, unable to go through the security nonsense, until the image started to fade with the rising sun. Turned out that I eventually was standing with a bunch of fellow human beings, in tears, holding hands, and praising God.

May God bless us all. peggo

By Jason, Tennessee on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 07:24 pm:

A beautiful song, and a wonderful picture. Thank you for sharing your personal work with us.

By Judy Brown-Kurnik, Chesaning MI on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 07:29 pm:

There are times in life when our own words can not express our emotions. Thank you for saying it for us with the beauty of this song and the magnificent sunrise. God is still in control.

By jean, Abilene Texas on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 07:40 pm:

to the Intrepid crew of space shuttle Columbia....Godspeed!

By Teresa Kentala MI on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 08:01 pm:

That was very touching and beautiful!
Thank you!

By Charlie and Edie, Eagle River, MI, ready to travel on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 09:11 pm:

Before we get away from the U.P., I'd like to acknowledge all of the emails we've received today and comments posted here. Thank-you for your kind words. But reading some of the notes, my wife's response brought me back down to earth ("Oh brother, now I'm married to the Kingston Trio")

It was suggested that the last verse of the song be modified, to recognize the added courage of Columbia's crew, taking the risk in spite of the fact that a shuttle had been lost before. This was baggage the Challenger crew did not have.

So here's a new last verse, but you'll have to excuse me from singing it. The previous version was done 17 years ago ("before his voice changed," as my wife would add).

It's only swapping a couple of words, but an appropriate way for the song to finish.

(alternate ending)

What gave the strength to Columbia's crew?
Courage to face the unknown?
Chasing a dream that was bigger than life,
Making the heavens their own.

Into the sky - into the light
Knowing a new day will follow the night,
Finding the faith for what we must do,
We'll always remember Columbia's crew.

In memory of - Rick Husband
William McCool - Laurel Clark
Kalpana Chawla - Ilan Ramon
Michael Anderson - David Brown

By Proud Yooper - MI on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 09:52 pm:

Charlie, your words and songs are beautiful. Thank you and have a wonderful trip. Your pasty.com fans will miss you. Keep us posted on things. P.S. to Toivo....Glad to have you back at the helm temporary. Looking forward to some early morning humor to start my day.

By Proud Yooper - MI on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 09:56 pm:

Charlie, my above message said "songs are beautiful" when I meant "song". Unless you have some more songs that you have kept from us - How about it? You are talented!

By Alex Tiensivu, Georgia on Sunday, February 9, 2003 - 10:34 pm:

This site, and the people who run it should get a special award. If ANYONE can find a better, more inspirational site ANYWHERE, I would sure love to see it. I don't know that one exists though.

That song sent chills up and down our spines. My wife, son, and I just listened to it from start to finish. (As a songwriter and producer, I'd sign you in a second, Charlie!) :)

Thank you for sharing it with us. Any first time visitors today, must be in complete awe over all of this!

Charlie... If you want a CD made of this and sold, I can have my distributor do it. Let me know. What a beautiful song!

By Proud Yooper - MI on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 03:06 am:

Alex, I am in total agreement on all you wrote & I would be the first to buy the CD so how about it Charlie?

By Ray Ball,Mississippi on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 07:56 am:

What a beautiful picture God gives us !Is this shot near the "Lookout"?As a young entrepuneur,I sold copper there to the tourist during the summer.I would dig it out from the ground surrounded by the slag piles near Coburntown.Would not have the time to clean up,and the tourist all wanted a picture with the little miner kid...lol.Earned enough money for my hockey equiment for the winter,played at the Dee.

By www.deyampert.com on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 07:59 am:

Photograph is taken about 100 yards up from the Quincy Hill lookout, on the slag piles. Thank you.

By Northern Lights Lodge, Cadillac on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 08:18 am:

I'm awed! Definitely a candidate for WOW! Charlie, the song is a lovely tribute. Enjoy your vacation in warmer climes; and safe journey.

By jack, coeur d alene, id on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 09:25 am:

excellent poem and song, we sure do have talented people in the U.P., charlie, have you ever thought about setting up a different link where people can submit poems they have written about the u.p., life, events in general? i also write poems, but have not found very may sites that can relate our area. readers, do you have any comments about this?

By Grandmas Pasties, MN on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 10:13 am:

What a great song, Charlie. An exceptional ending for Columbia. All it needs now is Garth or someone to put it out for all to hear. Have a good vacation. **Sandy**

By pegg, fla on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 11:05 am:

Hey Sandy at Grandma's, Who needs Garth? He is just slightly overrated. Besides, we have Alex and Charlie!!!

By Andy, Columbus OH on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 12:27 pm:

I remember that spot the picture was taken from. As a young foolish kid, I used to sled down it when the snow was real deep! In hindsight, not the brightest thing to do.

By Proud Yooper - MI on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 12:43 pm:

Jack in ID, a great idea! I love poetry, but cannot write. All you poets out there.....isn't that a great idea to see poems re our beautiful area for others to enjoy?

By Proud Yooper - MI on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 12:48 pm:

Another thought - some of the poems can be along side of the daily pictures. A poem fitting for the picture. Then the photographer and poet can both be recognized for their talent and contribution. Reminds me of the magazine Country Women which has a picture and a poem on the back cover.

By Kid at Heart on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 06:33 pm:

Hey Andy, still looks like a good idea to me !

By Connie, DE on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 09:54 pm:

You all did a wonderful job on that song. I hope that everyone will always remember the 2 crews. I know that I will. God Speed to all of you.

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