*Originally posted by Johca_Gaorl *
**If there is an Israeli flag on it, there should be American flags on it too. NASA is an American organization. I do not think that the Israelis deserve any special acclaim for essentially hitching a ride with us. Unfortunately NASA has to cater to a lot of politics and we end up with something like that. **
Those of us who were cautioning against including the flags of any nation were doing so with regard to any sort of the memorial designs that have been appearing on this site and elsewhere in the past several days. It’s egocentric and disgrace to the mission and purpose of that shuttle flight to even dare try to claim it as something purely American - with or without regard to the presence of Ilan Ramon on board.
Their work was for humanity, not for America. Their passion was for science, education and progress. They saw beyond the horizons of Earth into the future, and they gave their lives reaching for the promise and hope that it offers.
This is not a loss to a nation, except, perhaps, to those who are incapable of seeing the grander picture. America didn’t lose some its best and brightest on Saturday morning, but the world did. People who give so much for so little recognition, who move us closer toward living a better life here are on Earth, and who ignore differences of age, gender, sex, religion, and nationality while working together toward such a noble goal are all too rare a breed.
Truly, they are citizens of the world.
I’ve never been a big fan of memorials. I find them to often be callous, contrived, thoughtless, and little more than simple propaganda. It’s almost like a McCarthyism redux that sees everyone trying to make sure they’re not too strange, or too independent, or too unamerican. Well, I’m not in any position to tell people how to remember their dead, their living, or anything else in between - but I strongly believe that such memorials should be without any national insignias. The Mission Patch has an Israeli flag on it because the people at NASA (the only government agency I’ve ever seen that has real, honest human beings) decided that it was worth noting. Why they did so, whether because of their appreciation of Ramon’s accomplishments or political pressure, we can’t ever know. But, we should respect their decision and the sanctity of that Mission Patch as the true emblem of the mission, accomplishments and potential of those seven astronauts. To even remotely suggest, underhanded or openly, that a memorial ought to have an American flag somewhere in it because the Mission Patch has an Israeli flag alone, and we need to keep the count even and fair. . . it’s just disgusting.
Again, this was the planet’s loss. Don’t dare coopt that loss by trying to claim it for America or Israel or India or Russia or any other country ever involved in the Space Program, science, the pursuit of knowledge, or revolution.