Parting is such sweet sorrow

A mix of pride and sadness came over me yesterday as I watched the Space Shuttle being piggybacked on a 747 to its final home at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962, at Rice University, Houston, Texas

As we say goodbye to an era, I hope and pray that we as a nation do not abandon the desire to do great things because there are great things yet to do, and to once again boldly go where no man has gone before.

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