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JFK's "We Will Go To the Moon" Speech 12/9/62

Posted by: RonPrice - Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:25 am
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JFK's "We Will Go To the Moon" Speech 12/9/62 
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Post JFK's "We Will Go To the Moon" Speech 12/9/62   Posted on: Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:25 am
43 years to the day after JFK's assassination(22/11/63-22/11/06) I was reading his "we will go to the moon" speech at Rice University. Like so many events in the life of modern society, its politics, its celebrities and its technology, we all get perspectives on our lives from events in these wider worlds. An additional and useful sub-section to this forum could be one with a title something like: "My Life and the Space Race" or "Where Was I when..." Anyway, I offer the following somewhat long reflection in commemoration of the assassination, in celebration of one of the beginnings of the space race and what is for me an interesting juxtaposition of this world of space adventure with my own values and beliefs. My posting is somewhat long at 2 to 3 A-4 pages and I do not mind if moderators delete it for this reason.-Ron Price, Tasmania, Australia.

Nine days after I began my pioneering life in Dundas Ontario the then President of the United States, JFK, made a speech at Rice University. On that day, 12 September 1962, he said: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade….not because it is easy, but because it is hard." Kennedy cited accelerating scientific progress as evidence that the exploration of space is inevitable and argued that the United States should lead the space effort in order to retain a position of leadership on earth. I was also part of another inevitability associated with the great drama in the world's spiritual history, an inevitability given voice by the Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith and Their successors.

In order to get some perspective on where I and others stood on that September day in 1962 Kennedy said: "No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man's recorded history in a time span of but a half century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover themselves. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only 5 years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than 2 years ago. The printing press came this year and then, less than 2 months ago during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power. Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. "

A Bahá’í might have added that "last month the greatest Being to have drawn breath on this planet came and went; and last week the nucleus and pattern for a new world Order, the administrative structure of the Bahá’í Faith, was given its first shaping. Last month or, I should say, last week its divine teaching Plan finally began to be implemented." My pioneering life had begun whilst the machinery of the national and local institutions of a nascent Order was in the first four decades of its erection and perfection.

Last week, penicillin, television and nuclear power were developed. America was now about to reach the stars just before midnight tonight. The Baha'is were about to achieve a unique victory in the world's first global democratic election in 1963 and in subsequent elections, also before midnight tonight. The pace was indeed breathtaking and such a pace could not help but create new ills as it dispelled old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space and the new global undertaking by the Bahá’í community promised high costs and hardships as well as high rewards. It is not surprising that some would have us stay where we were on earth and not go to outer space and, in the case of the Baha'is, not attempt the utopian experiment for the unification of the peoples of the world.

Kennedy went on to mention a William Bradford speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony. Bradford had said, Kennedy pointed out, "that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage." Kennedy also said, referring to his brief survey of this capsule of history, "if our progress teaches us anything it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time……Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it-we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond." There is no doubt that the co-heirs of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, the North American Baha'is, would lead the global undertaking for the spiritual conquest of the planet.

In the 24 hours before his speech at Rice University, Kennedy pointed out that he had just seen facilities then being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man's history. He said that he felt the ground shake and the air shatter due to the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn and generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. He said he had just seen the site where five F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined which would be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48-story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field. Beginning in 1961 at least 45 satellites had come to circle the earth. Some 40 of them were "made in the United States of America."

The Mariner spacecraft then on its way to Venus was the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot was comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in the football stadium at Rice University between the 40-yard lines. Transit satellites were helping American ships at sea to steer a safer course. Satellites were giving Americans unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms, and would do the same for forest fires and icebergs.

The city of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, would become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years, 1962 to 1967, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expected to double the number of scientists and engineers, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion in the City of Houston. The rise of the World Administrative Centre of this new Faith within the precincts and under the shadow of its World Spiritual Centre in Haifa Israel had begun in the last 24 hours, indeed, in the last two or three minutes outlined in a letter written by Shoghi Effendi in 1951.

Many years ago, Kennedy concluded his speech, the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he wanted to climb it. He said, "Because it is there." "Well, space is there," said Kennedy, "and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked." For the Baha'is, too, there are hazards and dangers in this the greatest drama in the world's spiritual history. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 23 November 2006.

Little did I know, then, of
those plans and programs
for the conquest of space
as I got started in another
year of high school and of
football and my final year
in that town by the lake
where I had grown up,
been a child, adolescent
and discovered a new
religion with its hopes
for knowledge and peace.

Little did I know, then, of
the tenth and final stage of
history that was just about
to begin and the full-blown
institutionalization of that
charismatic Force, a unique
victory, that would take us
to galaxies beyond our wildest
imaginations and lead us to
a struggle of decades and a
window on the cyclical nature
of our history, our experiment
and its conspicuous and quite
inconspicuous beginnings.

Ron Price
22 November 2006

married for 37 years, a teacher for 35 years and a Baha'i for 47 years.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:39 am
John F. Kennedy Moon Speech - Rice Stadium Part One
John F. Kennedy Moon Speech - Rice Stadium Part Two

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