Space shuttle Endeavour sails perfectly over Queen Mary
"It was hard to see because of the sun, but it was amazing," Shelley Wade, 43, said Friday afternoon as the space shuttle Endeavour passed over Long Beach. "How often do you see a shuttle piggyback a plane?"
Wade, who lives in Huntington Beach, was among the hundreds of people who came to the port area, including the Queen Mary dock, to catch a glimpse of the shuttle's farewell flight over California.
Dozens began stationing themselves early in the morning on the historic ocean liner's sun deck, along the ship's right side. Among them were Francisco and Toni Perez of Cerritos. The couple had the day off and chose to come to the Queen Mary because of all the landmarks the shuttle would fly over, this was closest to their home.
"I'm extremely happy," Toni Perez said. "It's not packed, we'll get a good view of it and we won't have to fight traffic when we leave."
The pair said they were there because they want to be able to tell their children about it. Asked if they had children, Francisco Perez laughed and said no.
"I'm throwing out a hint," his wife said.
Further up, Greg Low and his family were standing below a lifeboat. The La Palma resident said he took his two daughters, 14-year-old Crystal and 7-year-old Kiana, out of school so that they wouldn't miss it.
"It's an educational field trip," Low said. "They can learn about this in a classroom, but it's nice to see it fly and then see it at a museum."For Bill Fleming, 57, of Downey, Friday was a little bit about seeing the shuttle and a little bit about giving his big brother, Richard Fleming, 64, the opportunity to set foot on the iconic cruise ship.
Until a few months ago, Bill Fleming said, his brother had never been to the Long Beach Aquarium either. But he said seeing his brother so excited about being on the Queen Mary and witnessing Endeavour's last flight made the day perfect.
— Ruben Vives, from the Queen Mary
Photo: As the Queen Mary blows its horn, spectators cover their ears and take photos as the shuttle Endeavour flies over Long Beach. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times