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My first post pretty much says it all. What else? As a patriot, I am deeply dismayed by the state and direction of our country. We Americans have and can do great things when called upon to do so. World War II. Containment and defeat of communism. The abolition of slavery.The civil rights movement. Our response to sputnik.

I will digress on the last one, since it is personal. The satellite was launched into orbit by the USSR on October 4, 1957. I was ten years old, in the fifth grade, and had known since first grade that I wanted to be a scientist. In class, we listened to the beeping radio signal of the satellite. Our teachers discussed what had happened, and in the years following, the nation responded, creating a new generation of mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. The economic benefits have been enormous. Of course, I benefited also. But now I, along with the others in my cohort, will soon retire.

The response to our national challenges now? Hmmm …

Note: In Spanish, the word for retirement is jubilación, connoting, for me anyway, an event of great joy, a moment when one leaves behind some of the duties and cares accumulated in a long life to return to the joys of graduate school and even childhood: reading, the pursuit of knowledge, music, art. I much prefer jubilación to retirement!

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