JULY 20, 1969--AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM ON DISPLAY
There was a time in America when NASA had a clear and stated goal of achievement--a purpose beyond the imaginations of anyone on earth. 41-years-ago today, America reached that goal when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Among the great achievements of mankind, this one stands alone.
The space program was born about the same time I was, so I had the privilege of watching as the program advanced from Mercury to Gemini to Apollo. Each stage of progress brought new and exciting images to our tv sets, and we couldn't wait for the next phase as it would bring us that much closer to the stated goal--landing on the moon. To us--the kids--this was pure science fiction.
On July 20, 1969, many of us in the neighborhood were gathered around a tv set in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Ellery Knake of Urbana, Illinois, when we witnessed the greatness of our nation. The world watched with us as Walter Cronkite did the play-by-play. I was 13-years-old. I had no idea at the time, but in three short years I would find myself standing on the banks of the Indian River in Titusville, Florida, as Apollo 17--the final moon mission--left the launch pad with Gene Cernan in command.
Today, I'm not so sure NASA has a purpose, let alone a goal--"...landing a man on Mecca and returning him safely" sounds more like a job for the State Department, but that's just me. However, there was a time, and it was 41-years-ago today...