Within the past few days, it seems like the term “underestimated” has become a popular mea culpa. Of course, it is frequently used in all walks of life, and it has been applied to many other types of action, or inaction, as well as to those related to political or military situations.

In 1957, during a meeting with famed arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the conversation got around to our relationships with the USSR. One of the statements made by Dr. Stefansson was “You know that one of the differences between the Russians and the Americans is that the Russians do not underestimate the Americans.” Two weeks later, Sputnik was launched, an accomplishment that resulted in much “soul searching” among many in the United States and gave impetus to technological developments that led to man walking on the moon.

May the present-day “underestimations” have similar outcomes.

Jesse Walker

retired educator

Baton Rouge