What was the most uplifting thing you ever saw?
(published 22-Sep-2003, Appleton Post-Crescent)
The most uplifting thing I ever saw - and the most poignant - was the moon landing on July 20, 1969. I remember the wonder and awe in Walter Cronkite's face that night as we heard the words, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Could there ever be anything in the world as fantastic and supremely cool as that first step on the moon? But that was the last time the world would stand with the U.S. and feel the same wonder and awe. We raised the bar for space exploration - we built the stadium to house it and staged a dozen other world-class events - but we only jumped over it a handful of times before we tore it down. Some say we're preparing for another shot at it when the rest of the world is ready. But that just doesn't seem to be the American way.
I showed that column to a friend of mine who replied:
I remember it well because I was in Paris at the time. The Americans were crowded around the TV in the lobby cheering. I thought the French were going to puke. They were so put off by our success. Thought they were going to evict and then deport all of us. What a bunch of sourpusses.
And here I'd written about how the world stood with us to witness this awe-inspiring event. I guess the French are a separate case.