What a grand day in our nation. Jeff Bezos did what he said he would do. He went into space in a short journey of 65 miles in a spacecraft that was built by his company.
For history buffs and lovers of space this was a mighty fine date to have this happen.
On July 20, 1969, two American astronauts landed on the moon and became the first humans to walk on the lunar surface.
This morning a rocket, while not really resembling the ones which launched my childhood heroes into space, still produced that deep sense of awe within me. Today’s rocket and capsule were called New Shepard after Alan Shepard, the first American in space. The connection of the dreamers of today with those who helped pave our original thrust into space is a sign of respect. But also a grounded determination to make great strides likes those brave men who climbed on top of rockets of flame in the 1960s.
We have all heard the constant carping and backbiting about Bezos and his company, Blue Origin. We have heard the litany of reasons that we should scorn the man for being rich, or using his money to exert ourselves into space with a commercial edge. While I have read and listened to such commentary for a long time, I simply disagree. After all, I was reading as a teenager the reasons why space program dollars should have been used for a list of other purposes. Such arguments were wrong then, as they are today.
Human nature is to explore, to learn, to know.
I applaud the decades-long effort of Bezos to reach upward and out and into space. I am confident his work will be a real stepping-stone to advancing our further exploration of space. As a boy who lived the pretend life of an astronaut in 1969, and watching over the decades since as satellites and rovers expand our reach I can say with enthusiasm how thrilled I am today.
I am filled with pride in our nation for producing a private citizen like Bezos, who was schooled to know that unlimited dreams can come true. I also feel deep optimism this is but another step in our desire to be space-bound. What happened today will engage others and drive our curious nature further to better know and understand the heavens.
The same lift of spirit and imagination over the space program that impacted me as a boy (thanks to Walter Cronkite’s narration) surely has struck many a kid today who watched in homes around the country as New Shepard made a dandy performance. That infusion of hope and wonder is priceless for the country.
We are all winners today. Even if some can not acknowledge it.
And so it goes.