Brendan Pegg / 6/20/03

When we discussed the location of the plaque at last weekís meeting, my vote was to put it on launch. It was a practical response to a practical question. Tom T suggested we put off deciding until we could all reflect on it and weigh in on this discussion board. And reflect I have.

Each time the subject of Bruce comes up I am flooded with memories. I remember feeling the bond of our collective consciousness on launch the day of his death. I remember apprehension turning into ever increasing dread during the 48 hours that we searched for him and I remember the bottom falling out while listening to Sergeant Hardcastle describe in detail how his lifeless body was found hanging in his harness. I remember the horror of seeing his blood stained gear as it was returned to us. They were not easy experiences to live through and they are not easy memories to deal with.

I also remember the overwhelming sadness of it all. Ron Fís tearful hugs at the memorial service and his admonishment that we all better fly safely because we were just too damn important to him. And Chris G unable to force words through his grief when we sat together at Sharonís.

Of course I remember good things about my time with Bruce too. I remember giggling like school children at the absurdity of some of our drive-to-launch conversations. And his beaming face as we clapped each other on the back after another epic flight. But even these memories more often bring a tear than a smile.

I could go on, but my point is that this whole topic always puts me in a sad and faraway place. Maybe Iím being selfish, but I donít want to feel that every time I set my gear down on the Chiefís launch.

The launch has its own special collection of memories for me. Mostly involving side splitting laughter and unconditional friendships.

So my vote, is to put the plaque in a place where visits to it must be intentional. There are times to sit quietly with a memorial and there are times for old friends to raise a glass to one no longer with us. My preference would not be to do it every week on launch.