Why America Needs A Space Program – Opinion
I know where I was 50 years ago. I, like most of the people around the world, was glued to the nearest radio or television set for the latest news from man's adventure the Moon. It was a big deal for me. It was a big deal to America. It was quite simply just a really big deal.
Growing up in the 60s and early 70s the space program was our shining example of what "we the people" could do if we set our mind to do it. There was such an intense national pride riding on that Saturn V rocket when it blasted off from Florida in July of 1969.
There was fear and trepidation when Neil Armstrong stepped out on to that ladder. There was jubilation and exhilaration when we saw the first footprints on the lunar surface and the images of America's flag silhouetted against a backdrop of the Earth.
I still get chills thinking about it.
America's space program showed the world just how incredible our country and its people were. We demonstrated to those that would think ill of our way of life that freedom gets things done. If anyone needed proof, we could just say, "Look Up"!
Eventually, we stopped flying to the moon. We set up Skylab and Space Shuttles and now the International Space Station. What we didn't maintain was the interest and intrigue and the mystery of space exploration.
The space program gave us a national focus. The Apollo missions were a reason to come together as Americans. You might recall we all came together again on September 11, 2001. I think we need that kind of national bond in the worst way right now. I pray that what brings us together is something positive and not a tragedy.
Our women's soccer team recently won the World Cup and instead of basking in the national glow of an American triumph we seem to have decided to focus on the politics and personal feelings of the individual and not a reason for national pride.
To this day I have no idea what political affiliations Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, or Michael Collins had or hold today. That wasn't important. They were Americans and we as Americans supported them and their efforts. Because they WERE Americans.
I understand the world that is 2019 is light-years, not just 50 years, different from 1969. Our social sensibilities are a lot different and with the advent of social media, everybody has a platform. It's like we're all talking and nobody is listening so we are not listening and we are not moving forward.
Instead of blasting off into the uncharted mysteries of space, we're too busy trying to force our Facebook-style opinions on others. If we keep looking inward and stop looking outward we are doomed to implode in a festering pool of our own insecurities.
Instead of being a small step for (a) man and a giant leap for mankind, we are moonwalking backward into a state of disillusion and mistrust. You can't make it to the moon if you're fueled by that.