July 20, 1969
Humans have looked up at the moon with wonder through all generations and in all points in the evolutionary past. Less, the sun, the moon is the largest and brightest light in the sky and can be seen both day and night.
Ancient literature captures ancient man’s thought about the moon.
God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night.Genesis 1:16
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, At the full moon, on our feast day.Psalm 81:3
And of His signs are the night and day and the sun and moon. Do not prostrate to the sun or to the moon, but prostate to Allah , who created them, if it should be Him that you worshipThe Quran
The moon has been there before there was humanity. It has made our journey with us from the tide pools through the phase of crawling and all the way to our current state of knowing. It has always been there. It is there now and it will be there to the end. And on July 20, 1969, two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, landing there and walked around.
It was a stunning achievement. It shall stand for all time as a monument, pristine and unrefutable, as a triumph of human ingenuity, science, mathematics, crazy bravery, and the ability of the American system to generate such prosperity that we can dedicate time and money to putting our species on the moon.
Human longing began to manifest into specific action after the Soviets launched the first satellite in 1957. Sputnik was the first human object to be sent to orbit and it circled the earth emitting an oddly terrifying beep. The alarmed Americans began to organize a response.
In my book, The Educated Citizen’s Guide to Essential American History, I write:
The American reaction to Sputnik proved to be even more historic than the satellite itself. President
Eisenhower launched a series of initiatives in response to Sputnik, including the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, forever known as NASA, which was tasked with developing an American space program. NASA seized upon its work with vigor and began to implement a series of rocket and satellite launches.
In 1961, President Kennedy asked Congress to commit NASA to put a man on the moon. In 1962, hethe Educated Citizen’s Guide to Essential American History, page 182
made an address at Rice University in Houston calling space “the new frontier” of American exploration. “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,” Kennedy spoke, just fourteen months before his death in Dallas.
Here is the portion of the speech the President Kennedy made where he challenged the nation to go to the moon. All should see this, and ponder the men who once walked this land.
The challenges were many. Death was a constant companion along the path to the moon. But it happened. The Americans made no national claim to the moon and credited the achievement to all mankind. Would that mankind would be so charitable in return to these brave men who were at the tip of the spear and the many men and women who were right behind them.