I was watching a television show recently that depicted the characters, many in different locations, all watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

From kids to adults, no matter where they were or what was going on in their lives, they stopped to gather around televisions to watch this moment in history.

It made me wonder, when is the last time this country stopped in unison to celebrate something great, something that could make us feel pride?

When tragedy strikes, we all talk about it and watch it on television.

We all felt the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, when the twin towers were struck.

We pause each time there is a mass shooting, but our pauses are becoming more brief because the shootings are happening too regularly.

We gather around the television to watch the Super Bowl and the commercials that have become almost as popular, but surely that cannot be considered a momentous occasion.

So, I asked myself, when is the last time something significant, something special happened in this country that united us and made us happy.

Nothing came to mind, which isn’t uncommon because I have trouble remembering anything that happened more than 24 hours ago.

So I turned to the Internet to refresh my memory.

Turns out I hadn’t forgotten anything. Sadly, nothing significant has happened that rallied this country in a long, long time.

I understand walking on the moon was huge and hard to duplicate. Times have changed, and as the years roll by, there are fewer frontiers to explore because we have reached them. Our attention to such events has waned, and maybe we have become jaded toward big events.

These days, we gather for Black Friday and the release of the latest iPhone. Those are significant to some, but not what I have in mind.

Business Insider polled its readers for a list of “The top 10 historic events that shaped Americans’ lifetimes.”

Almost all of them involved wars, shootings and 9/11. In fact, of the top seven, the only one that did not involve wars, mass shootings and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, was the legalization of gay marriage, which came in at No. 9.

At No. 3 was the tech revolution as Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh computer to society. Computers now play a role in everyone’s life.

No. 2 was the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president.

No. 1 was 9/11.

This is a completely unscientific, opinion-based poll, and means nothing.

I do find it interesting that most of the top 10 are tragic events.

I don’t know what any of this means, but I do know it certainly does not mean there is no good in the country.

Maybe the early breakthroughs were significant because the country was younger and growing up, and was a lot less cynical.

Maybe the next big event is on the horizon.

Who knows, but it sure does feel like this country could use some good news.


Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.