I write more to honor their bravery -- their spirit of adventure -- and less so, to lament their loss. In fact, Gus Grissom clearly would have wanted to be remembered this way. Sometimes the most daunting, dispiriting sacrifices lead to the most significant progress. Indeed, this winter's day in 1967 was was one of those times:
". . . .We are going to have failures.
There are going to be sacrifices made in the program;
we've been lucky so far. If we die, we want people to accept it.
We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything
happens to us it will not delay the program. . . .
The conquest of space is worth the risk of life. . . .
— Virgil 'Gus' Grissom
He uttered this particular bit, above -- shortly after John Glenn's historic Mercury Redstone Friendship 7 Earth orbits were successfully completed, and shortly before Gus's own near-Earth Mercury orbits. [Commander Glenn's orbits are presently featured in "Hidden Figures" -- as my regular readers well-know.]
Time magazine published Gus's quote the week after his death in the Apollo 1 capsule, in 1967. Now you know. Onward. Taking each sacrifice as small, by comparison. . . .