When Alan Shepard became one of NASA's 7 original astronauts, it was the height of the cold war. The Soviets were winning the space, and in 1961 he was picked to risk becoming the first American to fly into out of the atmosphere.
"At a time when our national confidence was down, he had the courage to climb aboard a Redstone Missile," says Goldin.
It was just a 15 minute, 116 mile flight, but forever established his place in history.
"Al brought us back because of his leadership. He brought us back because he carried America's questing spirit into the heavens," says John Glenn.
Shepard flew one more mission, becoming one of few men in history to walk on the moon. He made that one memorable too, by happily hitting golf balls over the desolate lunar landscape.
But today Alan Shepard is missed. An aerial salute marked a final honor to a hero, whose love of flying inspired the country's space program, and made spirits soar.