Are we alone?

July 1, 2012 • Editorial

It’s been 65 years since something wondrous was discovered in a field north of Roswell, but the events which transpired here back in 1947 still captivate the imagination and inspire curiosity about our place in the universe.

The Roswell Incident, as it came to be known, was a phenomenon which rocked the world and then left behind bitter disappointment. It took place during a time of imagination and boundless energy. It was a time when the miracles of science were opening the eyes of mankind to the endless possibilities of universes distant and unknown. Superstitions and ignorance were being banished by the illumination of scientific exploration.

All things were possible. So it was with confidence and without sensationalism the Roswell Daily Record reported the Army’s announcement it had captured a flying saucer. The report ran alongside stories covering cotton production and the presence of area dairy men at a recent lecture.

The existence of extraterrestrial life was confirmed in black and white for all to [auth] see.

Then, as abruptly as it began, the story vanished. The Army declared the material in its possession was nothing more than a balloon. The rancher who discovered the wreckage said he regretted ever talking about his find. A photograph of a weather balloon extinguished the excitement.

No one back then could have imagined that some scattered debris tumbling across the miles of rolling desert landscape in southeastern New Mexico could have such far-reaching implications for this city or the imagination of mankind.

After the brief hullabaloo most residents of this then-quiet community went back to the mundane business of their daily lives. Some, however, did not.

For a few remarkable individuals, the memories of that summer back in 1947 lingered. Quietly tucked away, doubts, beliefs, questions and theories awaited a second chance. Decades later, the story was reborn and captured the imagination of the world. This time, the story didn’t go away.

For devout UFO enthusiasts, the Roswell Incident revolves around research, developing theories and interacting with others pursuing “the truth.”

However, for most of us it isn’t about strange pieces of metal, alien symbols, crash test dummies or the writing on a government memo captured in a photograph. It’s something much simpler.

Through the ages, there have been countless questions which have fascinated man as he strove to understand the nature of the universe around him. Roswell has the honor of being the focal point for one of these eternal mysteries.

The Roswell Incident inspires the imagination and inherently begs the question: Are we alone?

That three words are so simple and complex all at once is a powerful commentary on the nature of human thought. Among the creatures inhabiting this planet, the human race is unique in many ways. Our intelligence sets us apart from all other animals, but perhaps our curiosity plays an equal role in defining our existence and shaping our history. What’s on the other side of that mountain? Where will we end up if we cross this ocean? What would it be like to fly? Is it possible to walk on the moon?

No machine has been created without the inventor first imagining it. No expedition has been undertaken without the explorer planning ahead. No scientific or medical advance has been achieved without first being a theory.

The Roswell Incident embodies mankind’s desire to understand its place in the universe. Are we the most advanced beings in existence? Are we mere children in the grand scheme of things? Are alien eyes spying on us with benevolent affection and curiosity or with malice and covetous designs?

It is our hope that UFO Festival revelers will not only enjoy themselves, but also take a moment to reflect on the sublime question posed by the Roswell Incident. The truth behind the events of 1947 may never be known, but it’s possible that the quest for the answer is just as important as the answer itself.

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