I was almost there at the beginning, and I was almost there at the end. By the most amazing coincidence, I was near to the shuttle orbiter Columbia both in triumph and tragedy. This is my story, written in tribute to the lost. The original memorial was published online in 2003. The original photos are from my visit in 1981. The text has not been changed, but this short 1,100-word essay has been reformatted to make it easier to read on the device of your choice.