But it is also good to be reminded of events that have occurred on the day we are about to live. Of course, December 7 is remembered in the United States as "the day that will live in infamy." Sixty-eight years ago, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt uttered that memorable phrase as he conveyed the news to the nation that the United States would be entering World War II.
Now, here we are 68 years later, entering--no, make that continuing--another war, this one in Afghanistan.
So one of the other things that occurred this day takes my breath away.
Let the Writer's Almanac tell you:
"It was on this day in 1972 that astronauts on the Apollo 17 spacecraft took a famous photograph of the Earth, a photo that came to be known as "The Blue Marble." Photographs of the Earth from space were relatively new at this time.Here is that famous wonderful photo of "The Blue Marble".
(Previously) on Christmas Eve of 1968, the astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission, orbiting the moon, took a photo with the gray, craggy surface of the moon in the foreground and the bright blue Earth coming up behind, only half of it visible. That photo was called "Earthrise," and it really shook people up because it made the Earth look so fragile, and because the photo was taken by actual people, not just a satellite."
Photo taken by the crew on Apollo 17
I had initially posted another photo from space of the "blue marble" taken in the year 2002. My nephew pointed out that the photo above, showing the continent of Africa, is the original.
Take a look at the photo below for a minute. Stop what you are doing, center your mind, and just look at it. Long. Hard. Thoughtfully.
Photo from http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/
Do you see what portion of the earth we see? It is the subcontinent of India portion, with Afghanistan at the left.
From space, could you see Taliban? Warring tribal factions? Could you see religious strife and divisions? What could you see from this distance that shows the hand of humanity? Maybe, just maybe the effects of environmental destruction, but other than that--nothing. Not one thing that humanity has done would be visible.
Yet this "blue marble" is our mother. Our father. Our vessel as we travel through the vastness of space. Why do we despoil it? Why do we turn against ourselves? Why do we not simply cherish and nurture and protect this lovely lovely shining blue marble without which we would simply vanish?
Maybe you remember the public television show "Big Blue Marble"? Our son watched it daily. It had a wonderful sweet theme song, the words of which capture in a simple way this sentiment:
The earth's a Big Blue Marble
When you see it from out there
The sun and moon declare
Our beauty's very rare
Folks are folks and kids are kids
We share a common name
We speak a different way
But work and play the same
We sing pretty much alike
Enjoy spring pretty much alike
Peace and love we all understand
And laughter, we use the very same brand
Our differences, our problems
From out there there's not much trace
Our friendships they can place
While looking at the face
Of the Big Blue Marble in space.
Couldn't have said it better myself.