Thursday, May 5, 2011

Freedom 7, 50 Years Ago Today

Fifty years ago the Cold War was in full swing.
Fifty years ago B/W television was the height of home entertainment and most people had a single rotary phone in their homes.
Fifty years ago you could still take a liner across the Atlantic.
Fifty years ago European nations still had colonies.
Fifty years ago the U.S. supplied much of its own oil and production was still rising.
Fifty years ago some people could not accept that an Irish-American Catholic was president.

And fifty years ago today, Alan Shepard became the first American to leave the atmosphere and travel through space during a brief suborbital ballistic flight in his Mercury 7 capsule.
The launch of Mercury-Redstone 3 carrying Freedom 7 (NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day)

President Kennedy would use the celebratory hoopla surrounding Shepards' flight to make his call for America to go to the moon. While that mission was accomplished, no one anticipated or could anticipate all the all the challenges, changes, crises and triumphs in the next 50 years.  So while we look at challenges facing us today, we must humbly remember that none of us can know what the results of these challenges will be. That does not mean we can ignore or deny these challenges, just that we must accept uncertainty as part of the package.
We should also look back at Mercury and remember what positive accomplishments we are capable of.

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