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Story Musgrave

Dean of American Astronauts

The way you remember the past depends upon your hope for the future. And if what you see in your future has no hope, it has no potential, then you view the past that brought you to here as not very good. For myself, all of those things were ways that I built myself, that I measured up, that I that I got self-reliance. That I learned even as a three year-old that I see this world that is really a mess and I learned to say, this is not me. I am not the one that is messed up. It is out there.
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Story Musgrave

Dean of American Astronauts

Story Musgrave: I have always known the risks of the shuttle, and the risks are very high. It's the most dangerous vehicle we've ever flown without escape capability, and I knew that from the very start. It was distressful though. I knew we would have an accident, but I expected it to be what we call an act of God, in which the entire team was doing exactly what they should have been doing to the best of their abilities. But you are operating such a fragile vehicle -- a butterfly strapped onto a rocket -- that no matter how perfect you are, you're going to lose something. I expected the accident would be due to that, as opposed to just out-and-out negligence. That is what was troublesome.
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Ralph Nader

Consumer Crusader

Ralph Nader: It's important to be able to stand tall, have the courage of your convictions and to have resilience if you are up against a disappointment or a temporary defeat. In fact, some of the same features on the athletic arena, basketball court, baseball field, football field, where you never give up, you keep bouncing back and you hold you head high when you walk off the field those are the kinds of characteristics young people should have in a much more important field called the citizen arena because that's what's going to affect the quality of their job, their standard of living, what their children are going to grow up in, and what's called the pursuit of happiness.
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Paul Nitze

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Paul Nitze: It seemed to me at the time and it seemed to me since that the questions were easy in the Cuban missile crisis. We had both a conventional superiority around Cuba -- which we demonstrated thoroughly by making all their submarines surface -- and God knows what on sea and land and air. So, we had total local control over Cuba. And we had clear and dominant strategic nuclear superiority at the time. There wasn't any doubt about that. If we let those missiles actually continue in deployment there at Cuba, then it would have become doubtful. Therefore, it was essential for us to get those missiles out of Cuba. But, until they had gotten them operational and ready to use them, we were in a dominant position and the Soviets couldn't contemplate going to war with us at the time, either in Berlin or any other place because they would risk that we would be the ones that would escalate to a nuclear war and they couldn't tolerate that. Therefore, it seemed to me, we could operate with full confidence. We ought to do it with a minimum use of force that was necessary to get the results we wanted. The clear way to do that was to start with a blockade, we called it a quarantine. If that worked, why the show was over. If they withdrew their weapons from Cuba as a result of that quarantine, then we had won. If they didn't, we might have to attack those weapons before they could be fired, take them out. If we could do that, then the show was over and we had won. If we couldn't do that, if the Russians wouldn't take them out, then we had to invade the islands. Capture them, dig them out by hand. In the meantime, I thought there was zero chance, almost zero -- you could never be sure that somebody wouldn't be a madman -- but very little chance that the Soviets would retaliate because they weren't in a position to so do. So I was not worried during the crisis.
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Paul Nitze

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Paul Nitze: I've often had doubts. Almost all the time. If you are dealing with the important issues, none of them are clear. Why do they hire people in the policy business? Because policy issues wouldn't be policy issues if you could just put them into a computer and get the answer to it. They're policy issues because the odds that one side or the other of a given issue is right are probably in the range of 48 percent to 52 [percent], or something like that. There isn't a clear choice. Then you have got to make up your mind on something that is very complex and decide that the odds are better for this side of the issue than that side, but it's touch and go. It's a hazardous business to deal with policy. That's why you get well treated if you are in the policy business because it is a hazardous game.
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