“There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world […] We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons, we passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence; we didn’t belittle it; it didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”
~ Will McAvoy on the question “What makes America the greatest country in the world?” from The Newsroom S01E01
On this day in 1958, the U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space. NASA has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.
A list of some of NASA’s greatest achievements:
1958: First US Spacecraft.
1961: First US Astronaut
1969: Man on the Moon
1972: Pioneer 10 launched to photograph Jupiter.
1973: Pioneer 11 to photograph Saturn
1990: Hubble Space Telescope launched
1973: Skylab first space experimental station
1977: Voyagers were launched to explore outer space
1999: X-Ray Telescope launched to photograph supernovas and black hole
1975: Mars Exploration and Rover landing
Happy 55th birthday NASA!
I wind my way across a black donut hole
and space that clunks.
Once I saw on a stage,
as if at the bottom of a mineshaft,
the precise footwork
of some mechanical ballet.
It was like looking into the brain
of a cuckoo clock and it carried
some part of me away forever.
No one knows when they first see a thing,
how long its after image will last.
Proust could stare at the symptom of a face
for years, while Frank O’Hara, like anyone with a job,
was always looking at his watch.
My favorite way of remembering is to forget.
Please start the record of the sea over again.
Call up a shadow below the pendulum of a gull’s wing.
In a city of eight million sundials, nobody has any idea
how long a minute really is.
~ Elaine Equi
Music by Alex North from 2001: A Space Odyssey (based on “Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss)
“These heroes are dead. They died for liberty—they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars—they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.”
~ Robert G. Ingersoll
Memorial Day is not about sales, bargains, or balloons. It’s not about hot dogs, corn on the cob or cole slaw. It’s not about a long weekend or a three-day beer binge. It is about remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have given up months, years away from family and friends to protect, about those who have been willing to serve.
For my father, my other father-in-law, and my husband—veterans all who gave service to this country.