orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Opinion

July 17, 2011

Space program vital to nation's prosperity

ORANGE — It is easy to believe there have been numerous times since his death people have said the words “I bet JFK is turning over in his grave.”

We are certain it has probably happened here lately as the United States has put a stop to our nation’s man flights into space.

It was on Sept. 17, 1962 when John F. Kennedy gave one of the most powerful and inspirational speeches ever presented.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things not because they are easy but because they are hard. Because that challenge is one we are willing to accept,” Kennedy told Congress.

Americans took on the challenge and in 1969 the first humans took steps on the moon’s surface and they were American heroes.

Since then millions of Americans have watched shuttle lift offs and been proud of our nation leading the way into space and the great unknown.

The flights into space not only opened up doors to understanding what is out there it has also lead to so many items we hold dear being invented.

One of the most common are cordless tools. Imagine not having those around next time you go to hang a portrait. NASA had to come up with these or find a way to use a 240,000 mile long extension cord.

Smoke detectors and improvements in pacemakers also can thank the space program.

Let us though debunk a rumor. Tang, yes that Tang. The one which was popular yet not too many people will admit to actually enjoying a glass of the drink.

It was first produced in 1957 yet did not catch on until becoming associated with NASA and flights into space. Maybe Atlantis could have the rest of the world’s supply and shoot it off into the depths of space to honor the space shuttle program? And this would also end the unnecessary craze for this drink.

The space shuttle program will be missed. We need these heroes.

Who now will be our true American heroes? Our law enforcement agencies and men and women in the military will always be who we look to first.

A lot of young kids dreamed of going to the moon and having the chance to feel zero gravity. Astronauts of the past were legends in a kid’s mind.

There is still so much to learn and we hope one day in the future JFK’s challenge will once again be a challenge this nation accepts and strives to accomplish.

We owe it to ourselves to never give up and never settle for being satisfied.

We challenge the youth of this nation to always dream and one day we hope those dreams come true and we will have a new set of heroes blasting off into the “final frontier.”

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