Monday, July 20, 2009

For One Brief Shining Moment

The year was 1969, the last year of a decade that started out with so much promise, but turned into one of strife and turmoil. A decade that saw a decline in the moral compass of the world. A decade of war, protests, civil unrest, and assassinations. A decade in which the Human Race had very little to cheer about.

This was the mood, the attitude of America and to some extent the world when Apollo 11 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on July 16.

On July 19, just 3 days later, the Command Module named Columbia, with the Lunar Lander named The Eagle went into orbit around the Moon.

The Eagle made its decent to the lunar surface on July 20th, the world held its breath. Then came the first words from another world:
"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
The world let out a collective sigh.

An short hour later, the hatch of The Eagle opened, and Neil Armstrong descended to the lunar surface. He uttered the now famous words:
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"
And for one brief shining moment the world was one. There were no distinctions of race, religion or nationality. We were one species, one people, Homo Sapien Sapien! Proud that one of our species had set foot upon another world. A feat that could never be duplicated again. We were thrilled.

The mission of Apollo 11 ended with splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on July 24th, fulfilling the mandate of President John F. Kennedy:
"First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him back safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."

Apollo 11

View at YouTube

And the Human Race went back to its bickering and fighting.
But for one moment on July 20, 1969, the Human Race was one.

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