End of an era…
Whenever I watched a newscast or saw photographs of the space shuttle being moved on the back of a 747 I had to marvel at the people we have today that could figure out how to do something as monumental as that. However when I saw the photos of the shuttle flying past the Washington monument, the White house, the statue of liberty and our nations capitol it only saddened me. It reminded me of a funeral procession, where the hearse was driven through the neighborhood of the deceased. In the picture below you can see the mourners, in front of the white house, taking a picture of that moment.
I am sure it made those few people fortunate enough to be there to see the last ‘flight’ of that shuttle feel very proud, but where is there pride that let them accept the death of our space program without a word of protest. I remember the evening when man first walked on the moon. I was in my first apartment and I woke up my infant son to put him in front of the TV so he could ‘see’ that first step, and I could capture that moment on film. I know that people everywhere around the world stopped and watched, so where has that wonder and pride gone?
We have billions and billions of dollars to bail out private banks, car companies and businesses but we could not save enough of that money to maintain some semblance of a space program? What have we gained from all that bale out money? Yes many business have remained afloat and the banks open, but to what end? They still are doing business as usual and only some of that money has been paid back. Whereas the space program has given us a wealth of tangible benefits. From the computer that I write this posting on, to the medical developments that now save lives everyday. By forcing us to go ‘where no man has gone before’ we were forced to find ways to do just that, and in so doing created new things that benefit us every day.
When President obama went down to watch a shuttle launch and he announced the end of shuttle missions, I saw the end of the road for the American space program. So when I saw the shuttle circling the the statue of liberty I saw only a funeral procession for advancement and discovery. Back when the world watched that first step on the moon, millions of children decided they wanted to be astronauts now many of todays children can only aspire to be health care workers, federal employees or end up in service industry jobs.