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An important day in history will coincide with one of our darker days this month,* and President Trump should be ready to link the lessons of the past with our current condition. On April 11, 1970, Americans saw the increasingly mundane sight of yet another Apollo mission rocketing towards the Moon. There were no grand new tricks promised to amaze the global audience. Just two missions after “one giant leap for mankind,” Americans had a false sense of security about an extremely dangerous enterprise in the most unforgiving conditions. Then, on the third day of the Apollo 13 mission, we were given a giant bucket of ice water in the face: “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” That was 50 years ago this month, and what an auspicious time to celebrate America!
President Trump’s team must seize the opportunity now, preparing a video presentation and live link-up of the surviving key players, to remind the nation, at our likely Chinese coronavirus nadir, that there was another very dark week in which all seemed lost but Americans refused to lose. Get on Jim Lovell, who said “Houston, we’ve had a problem,” and Gene Kranz, the NASA chief flight director on duty when the threat unfolded, whose autobiography is Failure Is Not An Option. Celebrate our ingenuity, our resolve, our resilience, and link it all with our current troubles and responses.
Link the disasters of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia. In each case, we were not expecting catastrophe. In each case, we mourned our losses, solved the problems, and advanced with greater safety preparedness. So too, we will now really learn from our response to the latest pandemic, because we know it will not be our last great challenge by a disease.
America is on hold until May or June,* but President Trump is “a cheerleader for America.”** We have good reason to hope, sound grounds for still believing in America’s brighter future. In the midst of the storms of adversity, there is reason to look towards spring flowering into a brighter summer.
* Credit to Mark Davis, Salem Radio host and self-described “space dork” broadcasting out of the Dallas Fort Worth area for bringing up Apollo 13 on his show this April 1st. He named all the names of those who walked on the Moon, and especially pointed to Jim Lovell, who flew on Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, and Apollo 13.
** 29 March:
We can expect that, by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery. We think, by June 1st, a lot of great things will be happening.
I want every citizen in our country to take heart and confidence in the fact that we have the best medical minds in the world tackling this disease. We have the best science, the best researchers, and the best talent anywhere working night and day to protect your family and loved ones and to overcome this pandemic.
With the grace of God, we are rising to the occasion. We are proving that no darkness can overshadow the eternal light of American courage. We will win. And when we do, we will rebound with astonishing force and speed. We will be stronger than ever, and we will have learned so much, where something like this can never hurt us to the extent it has — and the world — again.
In our present crisis, the strength of our people is our single most important asset, and together we will defeat this invisible curse — this is invisible enemy — and rise to incredible new heights.
*** 31 March:
This is going to be a very painful two weeks.
Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried, but America will answer with love, and courage, and iron-clad resolve.
I’m a cheerleader for America.