50 years later and still relevant – the moon landing

International News

The 1969 moon landing was a moment in time we all remember. From sea to shining sea people watched in awe and prayed for three men who took a giant step for humanity.  The landing was not an American success; it was a world success.  Schools, churches, businesses, and ordinary life, paused for a brief moment to witness the unthinkable and the excitable. Black and white television sets in shop windows, diners, restaurants, and class rooms gave us mere mortals a glimpse of “out there”.  As Captain Kirk so aptly put it, “where no man has gone before”.

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The space race started in the late fifties with the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, and later the first earth orbit by a young 27 year-old Soviet, Yuri Gagarin.  A test pilot and industrial technician, Gagarin made an 89 minute historic orbit around the earth.  It was 2 April, 1961. Space exploration had begun in earnest. Eventually it turned into an unspoken race between the Soviet Union and America. The “space race” was more than an attempt to conquer the elusive void.  It was validating which super power was superior.  Although the Soviet Union had the early advantage, America had the tenacity, technology, and Americans behind it.  

Speech to Congress, May 1961

President elect JFK understood the significance of successful space travel and the impact it would have on global politics, especially on the Cold War.  On May 25, 1961, in an address to Congress, JFK put forth the now iconic objective that “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before the decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the earth”. He asked for funding, and the rest is history.  Within a year, names like John Glen, Alan Shepard, Walter Schirra, and Virgil Grissom joined a long list of potential astronauts. They embarked on an intensive program of space training that would eventually put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.

The race for space supremacy went beyond romantic idealism.  It was also psychological. It was assumed that whoever “dominated” space would ultimately “dominate” the world. The notion that a super power could determine our fate was daunting.  It was “quasi” science fiction. As the Iron Curtain descended on Europe, the hope that America would win the space race became more prevalent. That feeling gathered momentum when our hazy black and white television screens showed the Berlin Wall going up. JFK’s visit to Berlin became a testimonial to America’s commitment to fight Communism and the freedom of the Eastern Bloc.  The Soviet Union had lost the public relations battle.

Kennedy Space Center Florida

In mid-1980’s, space travel became “up close and personal” for our military family. Albeit military life could be stressful and nomadic, it also gave us unique opportunities that we otherwise would not have had.  In 1984, we were assigned to Patrick Air Force Base in Central Florida.  We lived barely 20 miles from Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, and the Kennedy Space Center.  The Cape and Space Center were visible from the beach at the end of our road. I can vividly remember the first time the kids and I stood on the beach anticipating a launch of a Space Shuttle from across the horizon.  The distance was inconsequential as we heard the rumbling and saw the simultaneous flash that indicated the shuttle launch.  As the rocket carrying the shuttle rose upward toward the hot Florida sky, it changed its trajectory and arched toward a new path right on top of us.  There were no words to describe the wonder of that moment.  We were to relive that launch many times in the following months. The Air Force provided special transport and passes to watch shuttle launches directly from the Cape.  We were close enough to feel the launch vibration without being in danger.  Regardless of how many times we watched the launces, each launch brought a feeling of excitement and anticipation.  They were moments of incredulity. 

Kennedy Space Center

The incredulity increased when we had the opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center and see early Space Program rockets and capsules.  We developed a new respect for those who volunteered to train and go into space.  There is a fine line between courage and insanity. I believe that those astronauts were on the edge of both. Apollo capsules were no bigger than a closet. Strapped in cramped places and subject to drastic temperatures in entering and re-entering atmospheres, the danger of launching into space was obvious. Drastic atmospheric conditions caused outer layers to burn and heat resistant tiles to fall off.  Crude and rudimentary technology left astronauts vulnerable to dangers beyond our comprehension.  The chances of being burnt or frozen alive were an equal probability. They relied on control centers in Florida and Houston for support because they had neither equipment nor the space to fix much of anything in an emergency.  Years later, Neil Armstrong admitted that making it back home alive from the moon landing was a primary concern. You think?

Apollo 1 after a fire in the cabin during a routine ground test.

The Space Program was not without tragedy.  On January 27, 1967, three astronauts, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chafee were killed in a routine ground test.  Fire broke inside the capsule and they suffocated.  On January 28, 1986, and only six months after we had left Florida and Patrick AFB, the Challenger carrying the first teacher Christa McAuliffe burst into flames a few seconds after launch.  Challenger was one of the shuttles we had often watched being launched at the Cape. On February 1, 2003, the Columbia broke apart upon re-entry killing all astronauts on board to include Israeli Ilan Ramon.

1969 Woodstock

1969 was on the edge between our parents’ Baby Boomer generation and us.  We were between the old and the new.  The traditional and the “modern”. Our parents could not understand our fascination for loud and often disconnected music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the myriad of other long-haired pot smoking entertainers.  Woodstock crushed all barriers of what was traditional.  While women’s skirts grew shorter, men’s hair grew longer. An upside down world was unfolding.

Apollo II Launch

But on that hot 20th July in 1969, the crazy 60’s world found solace in the hazy black and white images of a small space craft landing on the moon.  As Neil Armstrong stepped out, we held our breath and wiped off tears of joy and thanksgiving.  America was united in pride.  There was no partisanship.  Vietnam, feminism, and other political agendas were temporarily set aside, and for a few days Americans were united in watching three of their brave countrymen  land on the moon and return safely back to earth.  I can only recall one other significant moment of unity in American modern history: after 9/11.

50 years ago nobody questioned the authenticity of the moon landing.  We believed in the success of American ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and optimism. There was a genuine love of country that JFK reiterated in his inaugural address; “…ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country”. These singularly and distinctive American traditional qualities have unfortunately been eroded by social entitlement and coddling.  The sense of adventure has dissipated in narcissist expectations that fail to permit failure as a learning experience. JFK’s message has fallen short on this generation’s ego centric expectations.  

As naïve as it might sound, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, did what they did for “love of country”.  I am hoping, futile as it might seem; that on this 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, educators take time to tell the story.  The story how the impossible became possible.  How the improbable became fact.  How the Moon landing was not about America, but about mankind. Before leaving the moon surface for the return journey home, the astronauts left an American flag on the surface. They also left a patch commemorating those who perished in Apollo 1 just two years prior. But most importantly, they left a plaque with a message:  “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 AD.  We came in peace  for all mankind.”

To all the men and women who dedicated their lives to making the Space Program a reality and bringing astronauts home safely: Thank You.

Apollo Mission Control Kennedy Space Center

The bashing of America to suit idiots

Courtesy: VOX

So Nike succumbed to revised historical blackmail by no other than the “has been” pinhead Colin Kaepernick.  Nike launched a new commemorative shoe this week. The debut was short-lived.  Enters the former quarter back whose career had been in decline since 2015, and booted out in 2016.  Listed as the worst quarterback in the NFL, Colin had an issue with the shoe.  Nike, in an equally unprecedented stupid move, decided to make this pseudo activist ignoramus its spokesperson.  Nike actually developed a line of sports ware with this idiot’s face on it.  So I ask; why would anyone associate themselves athletically with a loser?  But I digress. The inanity started when Nike launched a special Independence Day patriotic shoe depicting the original 13-star flag on the back.  The “Betsy Ross” flag as it is so often referred to.  At this point I must beg forgiveness from the seamstress herself. Sorry Betsy, but according to the now all too familiar visceral rhetoric of the far left loons; which includes the ex-NFL moron, you were obviously a white supremacist. Who’d have thought? 

The hypocrisy and stupidity of Colin’s genre is the intentional modification of history to suit one’s agenda.  Everything is generalized for maximum impact with limited capacity for thought or intelligence.  But the hypocrisy lies square on Nike’s back. For years, Nike produced its shoes in Vietnam, the Philippines, and China. In the late 90’s they, like other brands and high-end designers, were exposed and caught in a scandal that revealed unhindered business practices in third world countries. They were caught hiring cheap and often slave labor to produce their brands which they in turn sold to idiots in the west, and at exorbitant prices. This small fact seems to escape the disingenuous victimized complex of Colin and his ilk. It also seems to have skipped Nike’s mind. So pardon me for not taking Nike seriously as they ride patriotically into our 4th of July sunset claiming solidarity with those who find offense with Betsy Ross or the birth of our first flag. 

Betsy Ross

To continue debunking Nike and its inane and nebulous intent of activism, it made a public statement that it did not want to “…offend and distract from the nation’s patriotic holiday”.  So it is okay to celebrate Independence Day, which is commemorating the nation’s birth, which prompted the first 13-star flag, but it is not okay to display the flag because it is offensive? If you are scratching your head, you are not the only one.  The story about Betsy Ross and her patriotic sewing prowess has never really been verified historically, but it is accepted as lore which adds to the charm of the birth of our nation.  We all find comfort in envisioning a simple woman sitting in her rocking chair sewing our first flag.  But Colin, the one-man crusader for justice who earned millions while accomplishing very little; has a problem with Betsy and her flag. It offends him. This is the man who screwed up the only thing he was paid to do right: play ball. Go figure. The man who led a good life on the backs of those he insults. The man who complains about the country that has blessed him with the ability to make money as an incompetent idiot. We should be so lucky.

What country is bereft from dark history?  What peoples are not guilty of past atrocities?  How many countries have risen out of the ashes of civil wars and slavery to become a beacon of hope for millions?  I do not see anyone trying to leave America.  I see millions literally dying to get in.  If America is so bad, why the thousands at the Southern Border? Colin and his compatriots are the shallow elite disguised as historic victims.  They are not activists, they are opportunists. They care very little for truth.  They are narcissists. They claim to be the tolerant but in reality the most intolerant.  The diverse who want nothing to do with anyone who thinks differently.  The saviors of humanity as long as humanity plays to their tune.  In short; charlatans.

So Nike and Colin are suddenly the sensitive police. The moral compass of our nation. What a load of crap.  Enough is enough.   America and Americans, at least those of us who have to work for a living, have had it up to their nostrils in this garbage.  Liberals call the right protectionists.  Are you kidding me?  I hate to break it to you MSNBC, but activism is protectionism.  Activists want to protect an ideology.  They will go to all lengths to tell the rest of us that we are not worthy to breath the same air as them. The far left has one thing in common with the far right; they are both extreme idealists who have very little tolerance for the rest of us.  They operate on visceral hate.

We are witnessing activists who claim to fight for “injustice” and “rights” of Americans but hate America.  The current clique of pseudo social justice warriors are conveniently choosy.  Their narrative is very selective.  Unless one aspires to their dogma, their ideals, and their fights, then one is not worth fighting for.  A point in fact is the current anti-Semitic rhetoric by a few in Congress and on liberal campuses.  As Bernie Goldberg once said; liberals fight for minorities but not if you are Jewish. The selective few are worth saving, the rest can go to hell.

The demonization of America is home grown. It slowly crept in partisan politics and quickly flourished under President Obama.  His “apology” tour was meant to purposely bring down America’s might and “humble” it to make it look “good”. He even went after Christians for past atrocities while extreme Islamists were beheading people just because they could.


He travelled around the world apologizing for America and Americans.  The America and Americans who freed Europe and Japan from tyranny.  The America and Americans who brought the end to the Cold War.  The America and Americans who formed and joined the Peace Corp in aid of third world countries and their plight. The America and Americans who developed the Marshall Plan and rebuilt Europe from the ashes of war.  The America and Americans who donate billions to countries that often kill Americans.  The America and Americans who send their sons and daughters to die in countries we can’t pronounce just because it is the right thing to do.  The America and Americans that gave young people like Colin the opportunity to be well educated and earn millions wearing tights and throwing a ball.  The America and Americans who are there first when tragedy strikes anywhere in the world. The America and Americans who defend unconditionally those who ask for help.

The age of grievance and entitlement was born out of inane rhetoric by our leadership, and continued through the deliberate distortion of historical truth and bias to satisfy a political agenda fraught with nebulous social justice and talk of reparation.  A social justice boondoggle that brought us to present day stupid and Colin Kaepernick.

Nike will still sell shoes but its pandering to the left loons will take its toll.  The problem with companies like Nike, Starbucks, Gillette, and other brand names that identify with political correctness activism is that they inadvertently exclude a majority of their market. They fail to realize that their in-your-face attempt at “educating” us mere mortals on our obvious moral and social short comings is offensive and does not impress us. We find it condescending and annoying.  There is more to America than Oregon, California, New York, and Washington.  There is the America that buys shoes at Target, drinks a cup of Joe at the local diner, and buys the cheapest blade because it works just fine.  In short, heartland America and Americans have never needed brands to identify with.  They identify with the founding fathers and the idealism that made America a country where the impossible is possible, and success depends on individuality not the government.

In the land of the free and the brave we have the blessing of freedom of speech and choice.  Nike and Colin choose to belittle and demonize our past.  I and the majority of sane Americans choose and have the freedom to ignore both.  We choose to celebrate our country’s independence cherishing our blessings as Americans, in a country called America.  Independence Day is more than a shoe and a self-proclaimed activist fool; it is also about those who fought and still fight for our country.  Some died so that the Colin Kaepernicks have the freedom to be ungrateful idiots and others like me to be able to say so.  Happy 4th of July!