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not in enhancing what is

5 January 2010 no comment

In July of 2004, construction of the new World Trade Center began.  Two months later, construction of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai began.  Both were designed by American citizens.  Each had setbacks; each had delays.

January 4, 2010.  The Burj Khalifa is open for business, accepting new tenants, and stands at a height of 2,717 ft.

January 5, 2010.  One World Trade Center is a pile of concrete and exposed steel girders less than two hundred feet high.

Are the days of Apollo gone? When America could say “this is what we’re going to do” and then do it?  In 1961, at the time of Kennedy’s “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely” speech to Congress, only one American had flown in space (and he wasn’t even at orbital level).  Just over eight years later, America did just what Kennedy said we should.  American scientists and engineers have not gotten less competent.  We know how to build and fabricate far more cheaply now. Have we just given up? Have our priorities changed?  Are we still teaching? Or are we just giving?

It is worth remembering how we got where we are.  We got nowhere by exploiting; we made progress only by overcoming.  To paraphrase Gene Cernan (last human to walk on the moon) – The challenges of today forge the destinies of tomorrow.

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