I lived in Melbourne, Florida, and my dad worked at Patrick AFB supporting the space program. This was during the time of our first American astronauts of the Mercury program, followed by the Gemini and then the Apollo Moon Shot. This was such an inspiring time in our nation. The leadership and vision of our President John F. Kennedy was to set a goal to take the American dream and “can-do” spirit to the moon. The nation was exploring and rekindling the pioneer heritage of our forefathers. Even after John Kennedy was assassinated, we pulled together to reach the stars. I was a witness to American greatness.
In 1965, my dad showed me a NASA program proposal of the plan that was to follow the Apollo moon program. NASA was thinking and planning way ahead! (Project Nova was to put men on Mars.) The goal was to be accomplished by 1980. What an incredible plan and long-range vision for the future.
What happened? This is 2011 and the end of the American ability to put our astronauts in space. Today, the space shuttle came back from the heavens for the last time. You see, when we stop looking up and just look down, we lose the ability to dream; we lose the spirit to reach out; we lose the direction and guidance of faith.
The first time the Apollo astronauts looked back at the earth from orbiting the moon, they radioed back to earth reading from the book of Genesis in the Bible. On the first launch of an American into earth orbit (John Glenn), Astronaut Scott Carpenter radioed to him on lift-off “God’s speed, John Glenn”. The time that we knew the extent of the danger that Apollo 13 was in and that it might not make it home from its moon mission, the nation and world collectively prayed for intervention. The nation prayed for the souls of the crews on the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.
America needs to start looking up. We need to reach for guidance from the heavens and put new leadership in place that has real vision and faith and those who will lead from the front with the can-do spirit. Without setting and working on the difficult goals, we settle for mediocrity – we are doomed to achieve the mundane.
Today, I pray “Lord lift our nation’s eyes to You and give us the direction we must go. Help us to work together to come closer to You. Help our country focus on a clear vision of the future. Lord, let us once again reach for the stars so we may find a piece of heaven.”