Dr. Ronald McNair
A foggy morning brought us to Lake City, which is just down the road from Florence, to admire the statue and life of Dr. Ronald McNair and learn more about him. It was cloudy as we drove there and as I started to take pictures the sun came out.
Born in Lake City on October 21, 1950, Dr. McNair was a humble country boy
who picked cotton and tobacco in the summers. He was the son of an auto mechanic
who never finished high school. He excelled in his studies and became a star athlete,
played football, basketball, and baseball, was an honor student, an accomplished
saxophonist and karate champion. He never accepted being second best and
was valedictorian of his high school class.
He was a renowned research scientist and one of America's first
African American astronauts. Chosen from a pool of 1,000 applicants to
join the NASA's space shuttle program in 1978,he was a mission specialist aboard
the Space Shuttle Challenger when it tragically exploded after liftoff from the
Kennedy Space center on January 28, 1986. As with other major events in life I
can recall the moment when this happened. We were watching the news
at a guest house in New Haven, CT, awaiting military housing.
After graduating from North Carolina's Agricultural and Technical State University with a degree in physics, he went to the prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), where he obtained his doctorate at the age of 26 in laser physics.
He grew up in the racially segregated era of the 1950's. When he was 9 years old, he went to the local library to check out some books. Unfortunately, the staff person did not want him to check out the books and because he was so persistent she called the police. Two police officers came to check out the "disturbance" and the staff person pointed at Ron who sat patiently waiting. In the meantime his mother was called to the library and she was praying along the way that he would not be arrested. The police officers told the lady that he could have his books. Today, the library is named in his honor.
What a wonderful person he was!
Dr. Ronald McNair's mausoleum.
The Ronald E. McNair Life Center was opened in 2011, and is adjacent to his gravesite. The museum features photos and artifacts of his life. Plans are underway to expand it as a science center to interest young people in science.
Many schools and parks across the country are named in his honor as well as a crater on the moon. Lake City also has a Ronald McNair Boulevard.
He was an excellent role model and I hope that young people will be inspired by his life.
You can accomplish your dreams by hard work and dedication.
Enjoy your Sunday and wishing you a wonderful week ahead.