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Sally Ride proved the sky isn't the limitPosted Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at 3:28 PM
A woman I didn't know, but impacted my life in a huge way, passed away this week.
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, has taken her final flight from her physical form on earth after battling pancreatic cancer -- which apparently was a little known fact over the course of the last 17 months.
She was not only the first American woman, but also the youngest astronaut to make her way into space.
I didn't get to witness her victory as she pierced the ozone on her way out of the realm of the earth in 1983, but I had heard about her over the years.
In a time when some women were still fighting the expectation of being barefoot in the kitchen with a baby on their hip, she passed all of those major thresholds to visit a place most people only dreamed of or see in pictures.
Furthermore, despite her instant fame she didn't exploit her image to make money. She had a personal life that she kept, well, personal.
Weird, right? She hit the spotlight, and didn't try to stand on the edge of the light poking her head in where people could always see her. But, at the same time she made a difference.
She was a member of the commission that investigated the saddening explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 -- a shuttle nearly the same capacity as the one she had set out in just three years before.
Instead of making a brand out of her name, Ride started a company, Sally Ride Science, to spark interest in science among the younger generations.
"We believe that when children are encouraged to pursue their interests they are inspired to think about their futures, and are better prepared to pursue a wide range of exciting opportunities in high school, college and beyond," the website www.sallyridescience.com explains.
Is Sally Ride worthy of being placed on a pedestal? In my opinion, absolutely. She proved gender nor age -- and not even sexual orientation -- could stand in the way of following your dreams.
In addition to being the youngest, and first female, astronaut to enter space, she was also a member of the LGBT community, spending 27 years alongside her partner.
It was revealed in her obituary -- and recent comments from her sister -- that Ride and Tam O'Shaughnessy were not only business partners, but also life partners.
She didn't flaunt her sexuality to be noticed as the first acknowledged gay astronaut, but preferred to keep her private life completely private.
Sally Ride proved the sky isn't the limit for anyone.
Sabrina is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 847-4487.
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