Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Anniversary of First Man on the Moon

Today, July 20th, marks the 47th anniversary of the first man walking on the moon.

Those steps were taken by Neil Armstrong, with Buzz Aldrin following shortly thereafter. Of course, Armstrong's famous words were not heard quite right. What he actually said was, "This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

Indeed, those words have lived on and deservedly achieved a level of immortality ever since.

Lesser known were Buzz Aldrin's words describing the lunar landscape as "magnificent desolation."

What a triumph for humanity, and it came at the tail end of the incredibly active decade that was the 1960's. Beginning with the Civil Rights movement, then the Kennedy assassination, the British Invasion of new music (particularly the Beatles), the Vietnam War, the antiwar movement, the controversial protests, near revolutions in some countries including the United States, France and the Czech Republic, and the other political assassinations that were scattered throughout the 1960's, it was a turbulent decade.

Yet, the lunar landing was the culmination of a goal set by President Kennedy in his "Address at Rice University on the Nation's Space Effort" just shy of a decade beforehand:

"We choose to go to the Moon! ... We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win .."

Following such trying times, this was something that everyone could take a strong measure of pride in, as it was an enormous achievement. And it happened on this day in 1969.

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