On April 12, 1961, Soviet Major Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to successful orbit the earth. Aboard his vehicle, Vostok I., Gagarin fulfilled one of mankind's treasured dreams. He literally broke from our earthly tether and touched the stars. For a moment our fractious species stood as one. For a moment the human equation was tempered by brotherhood.
A program honoring Gagarin's flight was recently presented at Garden City's Cradle of Aviation Museum. Guests included the Hon. Andrei K. Yushamov, cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, as well as other dignitaries. During the festivities a bust of Gagarin was unveiled. A gift of Russian philanthropist Ruslan Bayramov, it will occupy an honored place in the museum.
Yuri Gagarin served as a palliative for years of mutually shared antagonism. The Russian bear had crossed the night sky with a world in visual pursuit. Today both Russians and Americans share the international space station and toast his memory
I was privileged to participate in the commemoration. As I left a small boy approached the bust and stood there quietly, tomorrow in his child's eyes. It was a splendid ending to a special day..