Around the Mall and beyond

Park, Edwards
August 1985
Smithsonian;Aug85, Vol. 16 Issue 5, p20
This article presents the author's opinion regarding U.S. Senator Jake Garn. The paper airplane that Garn tried out during his shuttle flight occupies a display case near the museum shop at the National Air and Space Museum. I look upon it with mixed emotions. In the first place, I do not think it is as good as the ones I make. Senator Garn tried it in front of television cameras and it just wobbled onto the floor, displaying no particular stability or airworthiness, or even the panache to achieve a spectacular crash. To meet my successful rival, I visited Garn's office in the Dirksen Building on the Senatorial side of the Capitol. I found him a brisk, well-organized man who certainly looked to me like an astronaut. I was not really the first private citizen in space, he told me. I was struck by the huge response the idea of flight participation generated, even years before it was announced in February 1982. Then I remembered Jake Garn's words: The difference between that wonderful film and the real thing is awesome. It is like seeing beautiful photographs of the Grand Canyon and then standing on the rim with it spread out in front of you. No one, he added, looking at me sternly, not even a journalist, will find the words to describe it.


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