Sun 19 Jul 2009
Even after 40 years the Moon landing remains one of the touchstones of my life.
I am fascinated by science. Growing up I, like many other kids of the ’60’s, dreamed of traveling to space. I wanted to join NASA and help make those dreams reality. It seemed a given that rational investigation and thoughtful scientific debate would lead this country forward to greater horizons.
My enthusiasm led me along a course of science fairs, contests, advanced physics/chemistry/biology/math classes and, eventually, degrees in math and computer science. From that a career in engineering and technology.
That “can do” optimism our country showed, even when mired in the midst of the Vietnam war – on the heels of other national tragedies, is something we should recall today as we face numerous adversities.
“Ad astra per aspera — “to the stars through difficulties” – has never been truer.
On the cusp of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11’s Moon landing, I remain optimistic that this country, our citizens, can surmount any challenge – from closest to home to furthest in space – with equal fortitude.
Walter Cronkite, a solid and trusted presence in my youth (for example), was as excited about space as I was – and he wasn’t afraid to show it either (he also wasn’t afraid to put his reputation on the line and call it like it is).
Cronkite, 92, died July 18th. In this day of media dominated by shouting heads, gotcha, personality over perspective, his passing marks more than the end of one admired journalist life.
The following is a statement issued by Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong on the death of Walter Cronkite.
“For a news analyst and reporter of the happenings of the day to be successful, he or she needs three things: accuracy, timeliness, and the trust of the audience. Many are fortunate to have the first two. The trust of the audience must be earned.
“Walter Cronkite seemed to enjoy the highest of ratings. He had a passion for human space exploration, an enthusiasm that was contagious, and the trust of his audience. He will be missed.”