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The Finality of the Final Frontier

The Finality of the Final Frontier

With the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis the shuttle program officially ended. Over at the The Daily Dish Andrew Sullivan has been lamenting the end of the space program with a series of posts (check out this video and the great letter it inspired), and reading his posts amongst many on the colossal ridiculousness of the debt ceiling fight, made me wonder if the end of the shuttle program really marks the end of the American Century. Centuries don’t really begin and end on dates, they are marked by events. The period of history that was the 19th century began with the fall of Napoleon in 1815 and ended with the launch of World War I. The 20th century ended on September 11, 2001. The space program was the great driver of the American technological revolution that launched us into the computer age, and the moon landing the great symbol of American achievement. We as a country dreamed and saw that dream become real. And perhaps the true tragedy of what we as a country may have become is not debts and wars and spending and subsidies; it’s simply that we’ve forgotten how to dream.

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