posted 04-15-2003 01:17 PM
"Please go ahead" the Gentleman said.
"Thanks" I returned quickly to the man holding the door open for me, not thinking twice about the courtesy until I realized the man holding the door open for me was Jim Lovell. A handshake and a 'very pleased to meet you - congratulations on your award' was likewise received with a quick introduction to Buzz Aldrin who was standing next to him. Ten seconds, maybe, but I'll never forget it.
Needleess to say, it was a very good national Space Symposium this year. Aside from escaping the dying days of winter here in Canada for Colorado Springs, I always enjoy travelling to this event to see the latest and greatest in space flight, as well as pick up a few bits of space memorabilia.
In addition to Lovell and Aldrin, Gene Kranz was also present for the luncheon, where James Lovell was being honoured with the General James E. Hill lifetime achievement award. Acting as MC, Gene gave a very good introduction for James Lovell, who himself spoke after receiving the award and was likewise excellent. It was one of the highlights of the event for sure.
Also gratifying was the fact that my colleague Greg got his menu autographed by all three, and though he's not a collector I advised him of the value of his new piece and offered that he might like to get it framed to protect it and show it off. A true space enthusiast, Greg was beaming over his new autographs, and I was glad to see Lovell, Aldrin, and Kranz receptive to signing, thus giving my friend additional joy in meeting these fantastic people.
Aside from this famous group, a few other shuttle astronauts made an appearance (Covey, Hartsfield, and others), and I was able to meet and talk with several while gaining some new autographs for my collection.
Otherwise, the symposium offered up several interesting items. Most notable perhaps, was the special 20th Anniversary of the Space Foundation bronze coin, one of each was given to each person attending the reception and supper on the last evening. Only 1500 were made, and each one came with a hand-numbered packet and artist signed certificate. It's a very well-crafted, heavy, and attractive space coin, and since no more will ever be made, quite collectible. Some of the aerospace companies also had coins specially minted for the event, and I was able to get these as well. With all the available handouts, it was a bit like Halloween for big kids.
All in all, it was much fun, not to mention a great boost for my ever-growing collection. I'd recommend the event for anyone interested in space, collecting or otherwise.
Andrew B. Godefroy, MA, FBIS