Remembering Ron: Q & A with Carl McNair
Twenty-eight years ago today, NASA Challenger mission STS-51-L ended in tragedy when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff. The disaster took the lives of all 7 people on board including physicist, Ronald E. McNair, who was the second African American to enter space.
At StoryCorps, Carl McNair came to remember a different story about his brother Ron–one of a young kid in Lake City, South Carolina with big dreams. Our animated short, “Eyes on the Stars,” brings this story to life.
Today we are incredibly lucky to have Carl as our guest on We Are StoryCorps to talk about the legacy of his brother and what it really means to have your eyes on the stars.
Ronald was a fascinating person. Are there any other talents your brother had?
He was a 6 degree black belt in karate, played the saxophone on the NASA band, was ordained in the ministry as a deacon, and was an adjunct professor.
How about you?
Since I’m the older brother by 10 months, let’s just say I taught him everything he knew. However, I am also an author of two books: In the Spirit of Ronald E. McNair Astronaut, An American Hero and another book to be published soon.
How does this work relate to that of your brother’s life and legacy?
My brother had a PhD in laser physics from MIT, clearly demonstrating his passion for S.T.E.M. and his desire to share that passion with students.
What would you like individuals to take away from Ron’s story? What lessons do you hope it instills?
It doesn’t matter where you come, your race, ethnicity or circumstances. What really matters is your willingness to work hard, be disciplined and have definiteness of purpose, you will be successful.
My brother’s life story has many lessons. Here are few:
1. To achieve anything worthwhile you must leave your comfort zone because fear, oftentimes, will relentlessly try to talk you out of going for it.
2. Seize the opportunity. We all are presented with great opportunities, but often times we failed to achieve them because it appears to be beyond our capabilities and out of our comfort zone.
3. Whatever your passion or goal may be, pursue it with a resolve that quitting is not an option.
One Response to “Remembering Ron: Q & A with Carl McNair”
To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.