Because It’s Hard
By a providential set of circumstances, I recently visited the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Take the kids to Disney World, if you will. But the Space Center has the right stuff. Real stuff.
It features John F. Kennedy’s speech in 1962 at Rice University, a year before he was killed, committing America to go to the moon (video here):
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.
JFK was not an exemplary Catholic, man, or president. And the “best and the brightest,” the whiz kids who gathered around him and bungled Vietnam and much more, were not what they imagined themselves to be. But they probably helped with the moon speech, and Kennedy delivered it with a clarity and emotion unmatched by any president since – with the exception of Ronald Reagan.