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Doug Haaland

American Exceptionalism Lands on the Cutting Room Floor

“For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace.”

President John F. Kennedy – Rice University September 1962

The soon to be released biopic titled, “First Man,” has produced widespread controversy with the decision by filmmakers to eliminate the scene of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planting the American flag on the surface of the moon. One of the central questions surrounding this controversy is why would anyone be surprised that Hollywood needs to leave the concept of American exceptionalism on the cutting room floor?

The landing of Armstrong and Aldrin in the Sea of Tranquility was set in motion by the vision expressed by President John F. Kennedy in his “Urgent National Needs” speech in May 1961, before a Joint Session of Congress. President Kennedy chose to focus the nation on this monumental task during the Cold War, in part, as a response to the Soviet Union’s perceived lead in the “Space Race.”

In fact, just… Read More