Millions upon Millions of Humans have passed through Freedoms’s Beacon at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the New York Metropolitan area in hope of a better life for themselves and their families.
Today, on Friday April 27, Freedom’s Beacon mesmerized millions of the World’s Citizens anew – and in an unforgettable way – as NASA’s Space Shuttle Enterprise proudly flew over the Statue of Liberty in the waning moments of her triumphant final flight, to the cheers of throngs of people from across the globe.
Enterprise flew several times over and about historic sites and landmarks around the Big Apple while piggybacked snugly atop NASA’s modified 747 Jumbo Jet – formally known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) and designated as NASA 905.
I witnessed the Enterprise fly over from around the Statue of Liberty and Liberty State Park in New Jersey as she made several exciting passes over and around the New York- New Jersey- Connecticut tri state region, delighting in excess on 10 million avid spectators.
Enterprise voyaged as far north as the Tappan Zee Bridge, around the Hudson River and over nearby spots on Long Island and New Jersey. All in all traversing over millions of homes, buildings and businesses to everyone’s delight.
I heard many people express these sentiments to me and in local new reports: “I’ve never saw anything like this. It’s fantastic – two planes flying on top of one another. I never imagined anything like this and I’m so happy to see the Enterprise.”
And I met and listened to folks speaking dozens of languages – who made the special journey today to be with Lady Liberty and the Enterprise.
While many folks were well aware of the Enterprise’s impending flyover, through New York’s extensive media reporting – this region is my home turf – many others were caught totally unawares. Nevertheless they were all thrilled, especially the kids.
Some people even stopped on the George Washington and Tappan Zee Bridges, among others, pulled over to the side to get out of their vehicles and take in and enjoy the spectacular once- in-a-lifetime view and snap priceless photos.
Some out of town tourists even wondered if the Enterprise flyover was a “Daily Show” – somehow put on by the Intrepid, Air, Sea and Space Museum – which is the permanent new and final home to the only-of- its-kind prototype shuttle vehicle. No, they were informed. It’s just a one-time April 27 Big Apple Special. And it’s Free !
Space Shuttle Enterprise departed Dulles Airport mounted atop NASA’s 747 around 9:39 a.m. EDT and arrived in New York around 10:30 a.m. EDT. It was a cool and partly cloudy day in the 50’s and blustery with wind gusts around 40 MPH.
She finally touched down at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport at about 11:22 a.m. after I watched her take a last dazzling spin over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
The space shuttle is the most complex machine built by humanity, and stands as a powerful beacon to the future and what humans can accomplish if only we put our minds and efforts towards the task.
The Enterprise was the first of NASA’s Space Shuttles orbiters to be built and was used in landmark tests that paved the way for the entire Shuttle fleet and the first shuttle launch in 1981.
In June, the Enterprise will be placed on a barge and towed by tugboat to the Intrepid. She will be hoisted by crane onto the flight deck and open for display to the public in July 2012.
Enterprise is named after the fictional starship in the world renowned and beloved TV science fiction series – “Star Trek”.
About 1500 VIP guests greeted the Enterprise after landing at JFK, including actor Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s “Mr. Spock.”
Spock (Nimoy) welcomed Enterprise to New York and pronounced his famous Vulcan greeting –
“This is a reunion for me. Thirty-five years ago, I met the Enterprise for the first time.”
“Live Long and Prosper !”