Today marks the 40th Anniversary of NASA‘s Apollo 11 landing on the surface of the moon. Astronauts, Neil Alden Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr. had left the Earth’s surface just 4 days prior on July 16th. Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon, while Collins orbited above them in the Command Module.
Back in 2006, I wrote about my memories of that great day when all of the world shared a collective experience of joy, wonder, and a future filled with possibilities.
FROM ONE GIANT LEAP:
Everyone has special dates in history that they can’t help remembering.
For my dad, it was December 7, 1941; the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.
For others, it was November 22, 1963; the day America lost John F. Kennedy to a sniper hiding in a book depository.
For some, the day that music died was August 16, 1977; when the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, took his final bow and “went home” to be with his mother.
Many shed a tear for the astronauts and one teacher that died aboard the space shuttle, Challenger, on January 28, 1986.
In today’s generation, the date September 11, 2001 will be a date that made America cry in fear and unite in patriotism.
For me, July 20, 1969 will be a date that I shall always remember. A date where we cried in joy, and shouted with pride, and stared in awe as the first human being stepped foot upon a celestial body other than Earth.
I remember gathering around the black and white television set my family had and watching in amazement as Astronaut Neil Armstrong said those immortal words,
“…that’s one small step for [a] man…one giant leap for mankind.”
During the next few years, every school project I undertook had something to do with space travel or science. I read everything I could about men and women who had great ideas and saw them through to reality. I realized that so many things existed outside my small Mississippi town.
Yes, I too, remember what I was doing on that date. I was realizing that life was changing before my eyes, and reaching for the stars was no longer out of our reach.