51 Years Ago: American Astronauts First Walk on the Moon
In the scheme of history, fifty one years certainly isn't that long a time. But sometimes time can play tricks. To many, a marriage, a graduation or the birth of a child, though having taken place decades ago, seem just like yesterday. But for those old enough to remember the flight of Apollo 11, the first manned moon landing in July of 1969, that two score plus eleven seems so very, very long ago.
Why is that? How could that be that such a seminal moment, not only in the annals of American accomplishment, but in millions and millions of lives, be treated with such insignificance by so many present-dayers?
Sure, we still have the international space station. And brave astronauts from a variety of nations spend months on end circling the globe. But for reasons including lack of national will, better ways to spend our billions and a youth culture that seems to eschew a sense of adventure, those exciting days of a half century ago are, to many, about as real as the computer-generated dragons on Game of Thrones.
So, for just a moment, think back to July of 1969: The Cape Canaveral launch on July 16; the landing on July 19; the first moonwalk on July 20; the return launch on July 21 and the triumphant landing and recovery on July 24.
Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, the second and lunar orbiter pilot Michel Collins. As so many said in that historic summer of 1969, "Godspeed, gentlemen."