In 16th-century Italy there lived Lodovico Gonzaga, a 16-year old seminarist who was very fond of playing ball. Once a certain priest passing by wondered if for a future priest the youth was too keen on his pursuit and asked him: "What would you do if you learned that in half an hour the end of the world was coming?" To which Lodovico replied: "I'd play on." According to the Russian thinker Georgy Fedotov, the importance of culture lies in precisely that: we go on playing ball on the verge of Doomsday...
I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked "What do you believe, doctor?", I began searching for answers.
Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write -Tough and Competent- on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.