Some of us are going to have an extremely difficult time believing it, but it was 42 [count `em: Forty-Two!] years ago today, 20 July 1969, that a man first walked on the moon!
“That’s one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind,” said Neil Armstrong as he touched toe upon the lunar landscape. Watching this on television at our neighbors’ house, despite the noisy static — which makes the quote possibly a slight slip-up: if the “a” is not spoken, it’s a bit off — it was clear that the quote was intended to be a famous and inspiring legacy. The conquest of space was not simply an act American bravado, but a development that all human beings could share in.
At the time, the broadcast of the event gained the largest world-wide audience ever recorded. For a short while, millions of people around the globe were united in watching and celebrating an achievement of the most dramatic sort: new heights had been reached, and in a peaceful enterprise, albeit one that certainly had potential military implications. If you were old enough to have watched this momentous event, do you recall where you were at that time?
Certainly the race for the moon was an outgrowth of the Soviet/American Cold War, and the technological achievement served to impress the Soviets with how much a committed United States could achieve in an amazingly short time, but it was and is more than that. Mankind is a questing species. New horizons have alway beckoned. To paraphrase a quote from a television show that predates the moon landing, “Space is the final frontier.” It remains to be seen if we ever return.
Flower Mound, Texas
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.