Sally Ride's most enduring legacy may well be empowering middle school teachers to expose kids to a wide range of exciting career opportunities that await them in science and engineering.
For Armstrong and Ride, who so actively inspired so many to follow their leads, death only greets the body. Their efforts live on as active and inspiring myths in the lives of those who learn of their boldness.
Neil Armstrong represented all that was the ideal in our time. I'll never forget watching those grainy images that night, as Armstrong jumped off the ladder of the lander onto the surface of the moon.
We should honor Sally's legacy by ensuring that our nation can build new generations of scientists who can help meet the many challenges before us today and tomorrow.
Does the fact that you live a good life, are kind, work hard -- or are a hero as in Sally Ride's case -- become moot because you don't come out? I hope not.
Women have become "common" in space flight - except that the total number of spacenauts who are women is still 11% of the total.
Ride didn't hide the fact of her sexual orientation from her family and friends during her lifetime, anyway, nor did she want it hidden from from the public in her death.
This week we mourn the passing of Dr. Sally Ride. It is no exaggeration to say that the word "pioneer" was invented for people like her.
I pray my twelve-year-old nephew Joel who, among his four siblings, is known as "the science guy," will be inspired by Sally Ride's life and example. She's a role model for boys, too.
I hope that this great American hero -- the woman who inspired a generation of girls to reach for the stars in math and science -- will also inspire a generation of LGBT youth to reach for the stars in their lives and relationships.
Who knows if Sally Ride thought of herself as lesbian or bisexual? Or what she felt about the debate around same-sex marriage?
I once interviewed astronaut Sally Ride about her remarkable achievement in being the first American women to voyage into space. She was modest, of course, speaking about it as if anyone could climb on top of 30 stories of gleaming rocket, then ride 7 million pounds of thrust into the deep blue horizons above Earth.
Sally Ride helped to change what the word "astronaut" could mean, and generations of girls have grown up with different ideas about what they could be because of her example.
Discrimination is not an American success story, nor is there anything "great" about it. Sally Ride -- astronaut, pioneer, teacher, writer and devoted lesbian partner for 27 years -- now there's a great American success story.
On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride rode the Shuttle Challenger into the history books, becoming the first American woman into space. Recently I had a chance to interview Ride, a true space legend.