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Your Opinion: Centuries past and future

Your Opinion: Centuries past and future

January 7th, 2013 by Jack Ryan, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

It's New Year's Eve and we contemplate the year ahead. What will 2013 bring? Perhaps we should ask "what will 2113 bring" and consider what the answer means to our newest citizens - those new born Americans and their young siblings. Let's put it in perspective by imagining what things were like in 1913. Obviously, an 82 year old doesn't remember 1913 but does remember 1936.

Aviation was the miracle of the day. Only nine years earlier, Charles Lindbergh had flown nonstop from New York to Paris and that feat was still an item of great acclaim.

Commercial aviation was just taking off though it had suffered a serious setback when, in 1931, Knute Rockne died in the crash of a TWA Fokker Trimotor and again In 1935 when Will Rogers suffered a similar fate along with world-famous pilot, Wiley Post.

Nonetheless, in 1936, commercial airlines introduced the huge DC-3. It was capable of carrying more than 20 passengers and could make it from the west coast to New York in less than 18 hours!

In 1937 the German dirigible, Hindenburg, crashed and burned as it approached Lakehurst, N.J. Adolph Hitler was just an irritating twerp, incapable of endangering the USA. Economic depression was our real concern. By 1939 Pan AM Clipper Flying Boats plied routes between the U.S. and Europe.

Jump ahead to 1950. With the horror of WWII behind us, the United States was king of the roost. What could possibly go wrong?

An MU professor of physics assured us that orbiting satellites might be possible someday but would not become reality for many decades. Seven years later - Sputnik! The rest is history.

In the last 100 years, American innovation has spawned enormous change - change at an ever accelerating pace - a trend that will surely continue. As in the past, technology will evolve and bring cultural change with it.

Communities anticipating change will take advantage of it and prosper while others wither and die.

History proves that our crystal ball is sometimes a bit murky but, at the dawning of a new year, we're obliged to try and peer inside, think of those just starting life in our community and ask "what should we do to make sure their future is filled with opportunities equal to those we've enjoyed."

Should we do in 2013 as we did in 2012?