Did you know that JFK originally wanted the U.S. to go to Mars?
Buzz Aldrin explains: President Kennedy approached NASA in the early 1960s, he said, “I want to go to Mars.” The NASA people spent a full weekend studying that, went to the president and said they had done the calculations and we were in no position to get to Mars. They told him they thought they could get to the moon.
I consider myself luck enough to have been alive when our country has a national shared goal and interests. The Space Program for one. Consider the fact that in the early 1960s, we were still facing all matter scary threats like we are now. We didn’t have to worry about being shot at an office party, but as kids we were playing “duck and cover” under our desks in case the Russians nuked us. This was no joke. As a kid I remember being mildly concerned about WWIII, but I wasn’t obsessed by it…no kid was. We actually thought it would never happen and if it did, if we hid under our 3×3 foot desk, we’d probably be OK.
Our parents had to go to work every day and tuck their children in at night, worrying about the US and the Russians coming to the brink of a world war. I never asked my folks about it when they were alive, but I wish I had. I honestly don’t know if it caused them the same anxiety our present threat from Islamic militants causes us, today. I can’t imagine how it didn’t.
But back to my point: In the 1960s, we had The Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of our President, the start and expansion of the Viet Nam war, riots in dozens of American cities over Civil Rights, inflation, recession and a long list of other problems, but we still had a common goal and National interest: The Space Program. We talked and learned about it in schools…every TV network has actual science reporters who helped us understand how Apollo worked. We watched every space-shot from The Cape, live on TV…often in school.
We had issues…we had problems…the world seemed fragile…but we still found room in our collective frame of mind for a great American project: The Space Program and a Moon landing.
I don’t want to be the one to tell Buzz the sad news…we’ve changed so much as a country we don’t have any more “national-shared-interests”…with the exception of Kim Kardashian telling us how big her boobs got during pregnancy. (please finish my blog before you look it up)
I long for the days when we still had something that was bigger than our individual selves, to work toward. I miss living a daily life that wasn’t full of frightful news about terrorism and political nonsense.
We might just have to join Buzz and get out of here…
Buzz has a great website and some wonderful things to read if you still have enough room in your mind for a little imagination. God Bless him for that. -Jim