The bottom line is that some people "get" the space program and some don't. Fortunately, the "do's" still seem to outnumber the "don'ts," though by an increasingly narrow margin.
Nearly 35 years ago, we first put human beings on the moon. And then we just....stopped.
Someone who doesn't "get" it--who has simply imbibed the utilitarian ethos of the day--can't even see why I would consider that sad and incomprehesible. The soul which only sees such things in pragmatic terms of expediture of dollars and manpower ("What a waste..."), or in consumable products generated, is far too impoverished to be convinced by any few words I might say. My hope is that those who were inspired to greater achievement in their lives by people like Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong will defend that vision, on behalf of their children and grandchildren, against those who see visionary exploration as less important than the "John Q. Patron Interstate Rest Area."
It's been 31 years since a human being last walked on the moon. An entire generation has now grown up without seeing a live image of the Earth over another horizon, without the dream of personally exploring God's universe and of standing on the soil of another world. I think our collective ambition and imagination is much the poorer for it.