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John's Essay

    We Don't Have Heroes Like Them Anymore

    By Al Hallonquist
    August 12, 2000
    The PR factor...the majority of us who grew up with the space program looked at the Glenns, the Armstrongs, etc... as our HERO'S! Just like many of us look up to the Crossfields, Bob Whites and Pete Everests. And WHY did we? Because of their personalities and the way they were featured by the media. How many young people today have Eileen Collins, Mae Jemison, Guion Bluford, Charlie Bolden, Bonnie Dunbar, Charlie Precourt, Hoot Gibson or Curt Brown as their hero?

    WE DO NOT HAVE HEROS LIKE THEM ANYMORE! Now pay CLOSE attention here. Not saying we don't have the PEOPLE here, we don't have the HEROS. Yes there ARE heros in NASA today, but not PUBLIC HEROS. NASA loses out on so many opportunities to boost these guys up.

    Can you imagine a Jim Halsell on Leno? A Halsell they let LOOSE on Leno? Oh, the utter HORROR to NASA today. But, oh, the next generation of people who would look up to him as a hero!

    In the movie,Space Cowboys, the appearance of the 4 older astronauts on Leno got NASA funding beyond their expectations, because people got interested once again. These guys may have been old, but they were crusty pioneers...guys who truly COULD fly a washing machine if you put wings on it...

    NASA missed a great opportunity with Eileen Collins. After her command, NASA put her out some, but did they put her out there like they should have? I know she did make SOME apperances, but she should have been on EVERYTHING. We should see her face on a box of Wheaties, selling Coke. What about NASA's policies of outside income? Heck, take the income to NASA's budget. But get her OUT there. Make her, as she truly is, a hero. A hero WELL KNOWN to the public.

    Then maybe more bucks for Buck Rogers....

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