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Essay By Maximillian Mcelligott

Rep. Pete Olson

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Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to interact with some of the brightest students in the 22nd Congressional District who serve on my Congressional Youth Advisory Council. I have gained much by listening to the high school students who are the future of this great Nation. They provide important insight into the concerns of our younger constituents and hopefully get a better sense of the importance of being an active participant in the political process. Many of the students have written short essays on a variety of topics and I am pleased to share these with my House colleagues.

Maximillian McElligott is a junior at Clear Springs High School in Galveston County, Texas. His essay topic is: Select an important event that has occurred in the past 50 years and explain how that event has changed our country. Maximillian chose the Cold War.

The Cold War had numerous effects on America that led to prosperity in not just the American political machine but also in the everyday society. One well-known effect is the putting together of National Aeronautical and Space Administration or NASA. During the 1950s, both the Soviets and Americans were in a so called ``Space Race''. The goal was simple: Be the first to space. The Soviets were the first to achieve this goal by successfully launching their rocket, Sputnik I, into space. In response to the possible threats of nuclear war and the new Soviet technology of long range missiles, the United States founded the National Aeronautical and Space Administration or NASA. The ``Sputnik Crisis'', as it was called sent a shockwave through the United States. For once, we weren't the first to accomplish something that hadn't been done yet. NASA's early goals consisted of getting to space, and then once John F. Kennedy was elected in the early 1960s, the goal changed to putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. The dream of putting a man on the moon was accomplished quickly by landing a man on the moon, July 20th, 1969. That single day in history where over 500 million people worldwide watched as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took mankind's first steps on the moon. The first manned moon landing opened the door for future space explorations such as missions to other planets, other planets moons, and possibly other galaxies which wouldn't have come as quick as they had without the so called ``Russian Initiative''. Another immediate effect in the public school system was the majority of the focus was situated onto math and science based criteria. The government had planned to get youths more excited and intrigued by the new policies. The country went through a technological boom to close out the century. New inventions such as the cell phone, World Wide Web, computer storage units, etc. Looking back over the Cold War, it was a stepping stone of greatness to where we are today with both our education and technological advances. Through the ups and downs the space race worked in our favor to give our country a head start on the essentials to become an even stronger, more diverse world superpower. If we as a country had not gone through the Cold War and had succumbed to letting communism make its way throughout the world, the United States would be far behind when it came to superiority.