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Lyrics and melody © 2003 by Catherine Faber

She was first among our shuttles, and we watched her from afar:
Liftoff's soaring angel-plume, re-entry's falling star.
She carried hope and knowledge on that flying fortnight run
Crewed by warriors and healers, and sometimes both in one.

Sixteen minutes out from home she faltered in her flight,
Lost communication, and broke up in beads of light
And my heart is soaked in sorrow as it slowly understands
That Columbia, sky-strider, is fallen... with all hands.

As a people and a nation we have paid a price to learn
That in any exploration, there are some who don't return.
We are neither fools nor cowards, to be shaken now to know
What our founders could have told us, twice a hundred years ago.

Pictures stark before us, spelled out the flyers' fates.
A hundred miles of wreckage lay strewn across two states:
Scraps of twisted metal, a helmet grey with char,
Across the fields of mem'ry, a black and smoking scar.

Across a waking nation the shock and sorrow ran
From sunny Amarillo to the forests of Spokane.
From India to Israel the mourners claim their own;
A nation grieves its heroes, but we do not grieve alone.

Columbia is fallen, yet her journey isn't done;
The secrets of the universe are dear--and dearly won.
In every generation we find some dreamers rise
And set their lives at hazard to give us all the skies.

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It was created by Cat Faber (cat(at) It is maintained by Arlene "Callie" Hills (callie(at)