On July 11th, 1969, an event occurred that was momentous not for the sycophants of a particular administration, not for the citizens of one nation, but one of epic significance for all of humanity. On this date 40 years ago, man took his first steps on an alien world, one that we have looked upon for millenia in the night sky, and in so doing took his first baby steps into the cosmos.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first privileged two to leave their footprints on lunar soil while Michael Collins orbited them above. Armstrong’s words are now ingrained into our consciousness as the whole world watched with awe and fascination as two men bounded across a landscape and looked on our own planet from many miles away. Their courage in the face of the unknown is without equal, as is the determination and endurance of the many NASA staffers at Mission Control that sweated and feared every second along with those three lonely astronauts on a different world.
Call me a space nut, but science and space exploration are one of the few areas for which I think government support is imperative. I understand some folks concerns about spending money on space when we have so many problems down here. I hear them, but I still have this unshakable desire to see humanity sprout its wings and soar into the heavens.
To this end I could recount the numerous technologies that have arisen because of the space program. I could cite the scientific discoveries that would have been otherwise impossible without a human presence in space. But instead, I will point to the humbling and unifying experience of that summer day 40 years ago. For one day, we were not Democrats or Republicans, black or white, rich or poor, American or Russian. We were merely residents of Planet Earth, and that day we watched our brethren make our triumphant entry into the greatest adventure the human race can ever know.