Joel Daly's book "The Daly News" is a great chronicle of a very interesting and tumultuous time in Chicago history. One of the best parts of the book, is when Joel dips into his archive of commentaries. He did them every night for ten years and won several Emmy's for his work. This one was delivered on this date in 1974. It was the last day of NASA's Apollo program...
The problem with being a dreamer is that you tend to close your eyes, and, for me, the space program, which came to an end today, was the “stuff” of which dreams are made.
Forty-one Americans ventured into the black frontier during the past decade, and they all returned. Their achievements were generally measured in technological terms: how far, how fast, how much.
But, I was more fascinated with the human adventure.
For every flight, every mission, including the one that ended today, succeeded only because man was there, still the most flexible, adaptive, non-mechanized creature to come along.
I remember when Neil Armstrong took that “giant step for mankind,” when he put his footprints on the moon, I sat up all night trying to find the right words:
“By reaching for the planets,” I concluded, “Man reaches beyond himself and takes another giant stride away from the primeval caves, where he first learned fear, and the feuding tribes, where he first learned war. By conquering space, he conquers himself.”
But, I was wrong. I was dreaming! The space program was primarily an engineering feat, quickly forgotten, and, in the final phases, almost ignored.
But it’s my hunch that, say, 10,000 years from now, it won’t be Watergate or the energy crisis that will dominate the history of this era. It will be our achievement in space, man’s first tentative steps into the foothills of the Universe.
History? Ten thousand years from now? Perhaps, that, too, is the mark of a dreamer.