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Ride, Sally, Ride (Rest in Peace, Sally Ride)

I am saddened to hear of the passing of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space and a fellow Stanford alumna.  I never met Ms. Ride, but I was inspired by her.  And I'm not fond of math or science, either.

What was inspirational about Sally Ride was that she made the love of math, science and engineering seem absolutely normal for a woman.  She didn't fly any geek flag whatsoever.  She just did her thing, not underplaying the enormity of her accomplishment, but also not making it appear as if she and she alone were capable of the accomplishment.

Sorry to borrow a bad pun, but Sally took millions of little girls along for the ride when she went in to space, and especially when she came back.  She could have been a NASA "queen bee," like many women unfortunately become when they get to the top and don't want any other woman there with them.  Sally wanted women to follow in her footsteps.  She wanted to inspire little girls to believe that space exploration was for them just as much as it was for the boys.  She ended the NASA astronaut fraternity and was determined not to be a token or a fluke.

And her last name was "Ride."  How cool was that?

It is because of Sally Ride that little American girls don't think that being an astronaut is beyond their reach.

Whenever I thought of Sally Ride up in space doing her thing, I always thought of the song, "Mustang Sally," and in particular the chorus:  "Ride, Sally, ride."

Indeed.  Rest in peace, Sally Ride.  Ride, Sally, ride.


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