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Miller remembers space shuttle

July 7, 2011

By JEAN S. MILLER
For Starkville Daily News

My heart is saddened at the thought of the ending of our space program. My late husband Warren Miller was a telemetry ingenue with Project Mercury.
We had gone from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico to Cape Canaveral, Fla. Warren worked in the biomedical section in the famous Hangar 5. Most of his work was done in a near sterile environment, as a small particle in space could be very detrimental. He was with Project Mercury, made up of the original seven astronauts: Alan Shepard, Walter Shira, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Deke Slayton, and John Glenn. Alan Sheppard was the first to make a suborbital flight. It was a great success. After that came the planning for one to orbit the earth. This came to fruition on Feb. 20, 1962, when John Glenn made the flight around the earth in the capsule Friendship 7. Warren was on a console tracking John Glenn’s flight. I still have a tape of that flight. My two children and I stood on the beach at Cape Canaveral and watched the missile until it was out of sight. There were hundreds of people watching that day. There were many prayers going up with Glenn. As I watched, I wrote a poem dedicated to Glenn and his safety. God granted him safety back to earth and his family.
I had seen many missiles go up and blow up, painting the sky for miles with fire and smoke and debris.
Again, I can’t believe this country is ending our space program. It has provided untold invention and devices, especially in the medical field. So many of our medical instruments have come from the space flights and experiments — ways to monitor blood pressure, temperature, cardiac readings and even food stored in tubes like toothpaste that has been able to feed and save lives of starving children in third world countries.
Every time I see a missile or shuttle launched, I feel a chill and pride to be able to say I was there when history was being made.
My family lived across the road from where the Apollo launch pod is located today. I pray that maybe, just maybe there will be reconsideration of what they are about to do by giving the regions of space that we have sacrificed so much for to another country.
This poem that I have written is a tribute to John Glenn and all of the men and women who worked so hard to help make his mission possible.

Friendship 7
by Jean Miller

O’Lord, We pray extend Thy care
To Col. Glenn this day
And help him do the task at hand
As he explores the milky way.

Take from his heart a trace of fear
That may be hiding there
And let him know that all the way
He is in Your care.

O’Lord, be with the many men
As they perform their tasks
Of making Friendship 7 safe
Is this too much to ask?

As if to say, ‘I have no fear,
For God is on my side
This is my task, and it is true
He’s with me on this ride!’

The gentry slowly moves away
And leaves is standing there
The Mercury Atlas on its pad
As if without a care.

Many men have worked and checked
Her out through every test
They never left a ‘stone unturned’
And never stopped to rest.

With every puff of vapor
The billows float up high
The countdown started hours ago
The time is drawing nigh.

From seven down to zero
Every head is bowed
And you can feel the silent prayers
That rise up from the crowd.

We see a mighty belch of fire
There’s vapor, smoke and spray
Someone said ‘Now go with God’
Guide this missile on its way!

Those of us who watch and wait
And cast a wistful eye
And listen for ‘He’s back OK’
From his trip into the sky.

O’Lord, be with this astronaut,
They call him Col. Glenn
Go with him around the world,
And bear him safely home again.

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