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On April 17, the space shuttle Discovery did laps around the DC area en route to its new home at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center, part of the National Air and Space Museum. My co-workers and I spent part of that morning running back and forth across our office in an attempt to spot Discovery, which was anchored atop a 747. Tweets and Facebook status updates fueled our quest to add our own visual memories of Discovery’s final flight.

Discovery made at least one pass directly over our building in Arlington, Va., before landing at Dulles airport. Alas, it was just a tiny speck in the sky when I spotted it, but at least I can say that I saw it.

I was a wee little girl when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and my chief memory of that event is being very ticked off that “Captain Kangaroo” was bounced off the air to accommodate the nonstop television coverage of humans’ first steps on the lunar surface. I also remember standing in line with my parents that fall to see the Apollo 11 capsule at the West Virginia Capitol, a stop on its national tour.

Years later, I watched a shuttle launch with my friend Mike and his baby daughter. We were miles away, so the shuttle was a speck of light attached to a long, long trail of smoke from our vantage point. But again, I can say that I saw it – and I added another precious memory to the many ones I have of Mike, whom we lost too soon to cancer almost two years ago.

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