Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21: Time To Reach For the Stars

By Sylvia Gurinsky

"We choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
President John F. Kennedy, Rice University, September 12, 1962

The 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon reminded Americans of how much was accomplished that day in 1969 - and how much this country has yet to accomplish.

The touching down of the lunar module Eagle and the steps astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took on the moon were triumphs not only of American know-how, but also American will.

What has happened to that know-how and that will?

Companies that were called "too big to fail" actually became too big not to fail. Jobs that were once the expertise of this country have gone overseas. Products that are made here have become substandard. Making money has taken precedence over making quality in many areas, from manufacturing to journalism.

President Barack Obama, who spoke so much about hope during last year's campaign, is struggling with battles to get the economy back on track and a sound health insurance plan. He has to deal with a Congress that's mostly timid - at least when it's not partisan.

How does this country get back, for lack of a better word, the mojo?

It would help to have a history lesson. The seeds for the success of The Greatest Generation - not just in fighting and winning World War II, but also in business and technology and, ultimately, the triumph of Apollo 11 - were sown during the Great Depression.

Imagination and creativity similar to what was shown then will pull this country out of the current funk. Americans have no choice but to do the hard things to get back on track - and once again, to reach for the stars.

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