A Nation of Dreamers
A Nation of Dreamers
America was once a nation of dreamers. In fact, this country was built on dreams. Dreams of its founders. Dreams of the millions of immigrants. Dreams of those who wanted to touch the face of God in the far reaches of outer space.
Dreams by Christopher Columbus led him to many royal courts, hat in hand to plead for money to equip and expedition to the other side of the world or more probably over the edge of the earth. Although, it’s hard for us to believe it today but in Columbus’ time many people still believed that the earth was flat. In fact the Roman Inquisition prosecuted Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei because he insisted that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the reverse.
The founders of America dreamed of a country founded on the freedom of individuals. They then went out and built that country of their dreams through sweat and blood.
What must Daniel Boone felt when he looked through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky? Could he dream of the country America became? Did he realize that his dream of the open land of the West would fuel the growth of America into the most powerful country in the world?
Most Americans who had the courage to move over the eastern mountain ranges were dreamers. They dreamed of land for the taking, the opportunity for a better life for them and their children.
Perhaps, the ultimate American dreamers were Merriweather Lewis and William Clark. The dreamed of a country that stretched from ocean to ocean and had the undaunted courage to find it. From 1804 to 1806, they explored and mapped the west right to the Pacific Ocean and then they came back.
The men who built the Panama Canal were big dreamers. The United States took over the failed French effort and in ten years dug, blasted and built a functioning 51 mile ship canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific thereby making it no longer necessary to round Cape Horn.
In my lifetime, the biggest dreamer was John F. Kennedy. On May 25, 1961, he challenged the Congress and the country to put a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth. At 4:17 p.m. EDT, 20 July 1969, the Lunar module of Apollo 11, appropriately named Eagle, landed on the Sea of Tranquility. At 10:56:15 p.m. EDT, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon. In all, twelve Americans on six missions have walked on the Moon.
I began to wonder if America is no longer a nation of dreamers, when Newt Gingrich in a Florida campaign speech said the we should go to the moon and colonize it. The criticism that he received was shocking to me and I’m sure to many like-mined Americans.
Without dreams, America is just another country. Without America exceptionalism, we will cease to be the America that we once were. Is that what we want to be?