Stratford students view historic moment in D.C.

From staff reportsApril 17, 2012 

Right time, right place.

Sixth-graders from Macon’s Stratford Academy are getting to see museums, monuments and more during a visit to the nation’s capital this week.

But Tuesday, as they stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, they got a glimpse of history right above them when the space shuttle Discovery flew by on top of a jumbo jet.

An Associated Press photographer snapped away at the 75 students as many of them, their chaperones and parents took pictures themselves.

“It was absolutely amazing,” said Andy Lawson, one of the Stratford teachers on the trip. “It almost looked like you could reach out and touch it. ... It was absolutely spectacular.”

The shuttle and the modified jet it was piggybacking on made three passes around Washington at about 1,500 feet before heading on to Dulles International Airport to land for the last time.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss had just come out to the Capitol steps to speak to the students when the shuttle passed overhead, said Heena Patel, who accompanied her son Sajan on the trip.

“It made for a unique experience,” she said.

The shuttle is scheduled to be towed to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum annex near the airport Thursday.

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