The Last Breath of a Sleeping White Dragon

Thanks to shows like American Idol and our winner-take-all society, our children, thumbs glued to their Droids and iPods are presumably typing away about their ambitions to be the next Carrie Underwood or Justin Beiber….or even Harry Potter….who knows. Remember when you you were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? There were the standard Fireman, Policeman, Dr., Lawyer, Teacher, Actor….and of course Astronaut as answers. Few kids responded Engineer or Software Developer or Mathematician. Ok, I may have left out Marine Biologist in that list. My point is this… Few kids, even when we were kids, admitted to wanting to study lots of Science and Math for their occupation of choice. I venture to say that today that this is more than likely even more true. But there still are plenty of kids that want to be astronauts…I know several, including my son. But, what happens when he finds out that astronaut is no longer a job or career choice??? I find myself reminiscing the glory days of the Space Shuttle. I remember visiting Kennedy Space center as a child. I have witnessed many a launch which never fails to bring tears to my eyes – chills – awe. I don’t think the retirement of the Space Shuttle program is getting the publicity it deserves nor is anyone discussing the consequences its demise may have on our children’s aspirations and dreams. Astronaut is about the only career choice a young child may wish to be “when I grow up” that involves a heavy commitment to science and math. An area where the US is slipping much too quickly in this increasingly competitive world in which we live. We need to invigorate the minds of our children with something more than swag and bling and smart phones and me-ism. I would even venture to say that the death of the Space Shuttle may some day widdle its way into future historians’ parlance when they are discussing the end of the American Era.

A song by Rush that always gave me chills and made me proud to be American:

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology…high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare…

-Niel Peart – Rush


About in11months

A man on a mission to change his entire life in just 11 months. View all posts by in11months

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