Fact of the matter is that the decommissioning of the shuttles was long overdue, and while I'm disappointed in our lack of an immediate replacement, I give the White House credit for recognizing and admitting that the Constellation program that was intended to succeed the shuttles was, in fact, both costly and inefficient. Moreover, starting over from scratch has allowed NASA to refocus the goals of our new ships, which will now be focused not simply on returning to the moon, but on long distance spaceflight as well, sending astronauts to asteroids, Mars and beyond. While it will leave a gap in our spaceflight capabilities, scrapping the Constellation program looks to have been the right move and I look forward to seeing the next generation of U.S. spacecraft.
To go out on a high note, I'll leave you with this link to the In Focus photo blog, which has put together an excellent gallery of images that depict STS-135 from start to finish. It also includes my absolute favorite photo to come out of all the media hoopla surrounding the final shuttle launch: that of a father and son who were present for the the first shuttle launch in 1981, and re-staged their photo 30 years later at the final launch.