The grand marshal in today's San Pedro Centennial Parade is special for two reasons in the eyes of local residents: She's a hometown girl and she's a famous astronaut.
As Anna Lee Tingle, she attended Dana Junior High School and graduated from San Pedro High School in 1967.
Rated by her classmates as the student most likely to succeed, she went on to UCLA to earn a medical degree with a specialty in emergency medicine.
As Dr. Anna Fisher, she flew on the 14th mission of the shuttle Discovery in 1984.
Her husband, Bill Fisher, is also a doctor and an astronaut. He flew on the Discovery's 19th mission.
Anna Fisher is visiting her hometown as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's efforts to rebuild public confidence in the nation's shuttle program.
Shuttle flights have been suspended since the Challenger disaster in January of 1986, but NASA plans to resume the program with the launch of the Discovery, scheduled for Thursday.
Confident About Shuttle
Fisher said she is enthused and confident about the next Discovery flight, but she won't be on board. One good reason: She's expecting her second child in January and she wouldn't fit too well in the standard space suit.
But Fisher said she is in line for a future flight, "and I hope I don't have to wait too long."
In visiting around town Friday, Fisher stopped for a couple of hours at the White Point and Taper Avenue elementary schools. She showed a NASA film depicting her 1984 flight and answered questions from the kids on what it's like to travel in space. She was accompanied by her daughter, Kristen, 6.
Fisher said her most memorable moments in space included looking down on the lights of big cities on clear nights and seeing the Himalaya Mountains.
"I always wanted to be a part of the space program, since I was a little girl," she said. "It's the future for our country and mankind."