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Monday, August 27, 2012

One Small Step For Mankind...

Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown—including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure—sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step. —President Obama on the passing of Neil Armstrong

When I was nine years old I stayed up with my brother and my mother to watch Neil Armstrong take his first step on the moon. It was a Saturday night and my father, a musician, was working. In the wee hours of Sunday morning Armstrong climbed down the ladder from the Lunar Module and stepped on the moon.

Neil Armstrong and I both went to the moon that night. And to a nine-year-old in New Jersey, staying up to four minutes to three in the morning was pretty much the same journey -- in terms of relative difficulty --  Armstrong traveled.

As a kid in the 60s, I had every model lunar module, space capsule and Saturn rocket you could buy. I never missed a launch, a landing or splashdown. I became comfortable with physics and the science of space. I followed an educational and career path in the sciences. I was pretty normal for the times.

I grew up in a nation that was comfortable reflecting our leaders and the skill and gumption of our heroes. Did it always succeed? Of course not, don't be so blinded by cynicism to see things only in black and white.

The passing of an American hero like Neil Armstrong is made all the more bitter by the intellectual mess America finds itself in today. Public schools no longer emphasize or encourage excellence in the sciences. The government is more interested in maintaining its power over our personal lives than in bettering the world we live in. To listen to the Democrats, every woman in America is more interested in abortion than in leaving a better world for future generations.

We are all to blame.

If we were a reflection of ourselves in the 1960s, we must also understand we are a reflection of ourselves today. That being said, based on who we elect to office and who we watch on television, we are a nation of narcissistic weaklings who bemoan risk and failure only to blame others for our actions. This is not the world Neil Armstrong promised me when I was nine.

Armstrong delivered. NASA delivered. The adults who inhabited the decade of the 60s delivered.

We have failed.

A reflection of who we are as a nation today.

A child staring up at the heavens in wonder at the accomplishment of the
United States and Neil Armstrong gives us all hope for the future.

The President of the United States of America doing it -- not so much.
In another disappointing display of narcissism and self-importance,
Barack Obama uses a stock photo of himself looking skyward as his way of
paying tribute to an American hero.

Taken from Barack Obama's official Tumblr account.

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