The passing of the man who made that one giant leap for mankind, should give us all pause to consider exactly what that small step signified.
The lunar landing was met by a universal reaction of awe and celebration that was much bigger than the efforts of one nation or one man. It was a celebration of human achievement. Neil Armstrong’s famous quote clearly ascribed the success to “mankind”, as did the plaque left by the mission, which read: “We came in peace for all mankind”.
It was a fine hour for America, but an even greater moment for the world.
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I was born in 1969, about two months after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. My whole life, the moon exploration file has sat in the outbox of humanity’s To-Do list.
My generation, and those brilliant if cocky Gen Ys and Zs who’ve followed, have all grown up in a world where we believe anything is possible, and not just because of all those sneakers ads. The theme of the JFK-inspired lunar program, as evidenced by those famous Armstrong words upon touching the lunar surface, was all about a giant leap for mankind.
In truth, NASA’s lunar conquest was more about asserting American superiority in a world then divided by an invisible iron curtain, than it was about the potential of the human race as a whole. All the same, the latter message lives on today. We can do anything. All of us. America’s moon landing was everyone’s moon landing, and for that, we have Armstrong to thank.
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It’s Tuesday at The Punch.
American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon today in 1969. Space junkies can launch their own interactive moon landing mission here.
Got something else on your mind? Share it here.
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