Today is one of those “I remember exactly what I was doing when it happened” days. There are quite a few of those in my life.
Some of them are good (Alan Shepard’s flight, hearing “The Eagle has landed” and watching Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon. seeing the very first transmissions from the surface of Mars) and some are not (the death of Apollo 1, the Kennedy and King assassinations, the Challenger explosion, and the day that will forever be known simply as 9/11).
Most of the good Remembrance Days have something in common: They were the result of careful thought, preparation, teamwork and planning. We-the-people had a goal, and when we reached that goal, we-the-people had reason to celebrate.
Most of the bad Remembrance Days have something in common as well: We were caught by surprise, and something awful happened because we-the-people never thought something like that could happen. If there were warnings, they were ignored in favor of business-as-usual. And any after-the-fact preparations have been sadly marked by ineptitude, a marked propensity for tilting at windmills, and a complete lack of vision and thinking-things-through.
The increased protections and precautions after the King and Kennedy assassinations did not prevent the attempts on the lives of Gerald Ford, George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s obsession with the Libyans didn’t keep Lockerbie safe or protect that barracks in Beirut. Fixing what killed Challenger did not save Columbia. And the ineptitude of our “national security” in the wake of 9/11 was broadcast for all the world to see when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita gave us plenty of warning and still roared through areas without a plan. The rigmarole of airport security makes it appear as though we’re “doing something,” when in fact, Osama and the boys have demonstrated time and time again that they’re not stupid enough to try the same approach twice. When they hit us again, and they will, hijacked planes won’t figure into it.
Why can we not re-apply the kinds of preparation, planning and careful thought that took us to the moon? Probably because the moon landings were the work of scientists, while taking risks in the name of the almighty dollar, like our current “national security,” is in the hands of bean-counters and politicians.Hope you'll recommend my posts via your favorite social media. Just don't copy the material as your own.