“One small step for man, One giant leap for mankind”

Even though the anniversary of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon is still a week or so away I think a little reminiscing is in order.
For me, as a twelve year old, it truly was an amazing experience, witnessing the first steps on a new World.
I still remember watching the first Moon walk in my Aunt’s apartment in Montreal. My parents and my aunts and uncles were playing cards in the kitchen as Armstrong dropped down on that foreign surface and while I screamed and yelled, only my Uncle Charlie (retired CAF pilot) came in to watch.
The fact that no one in my family felt it was important enough to witness didn’t deter me and it was just plain amazing.
To look back on the events surrounding that moon walk now, just goes to show you how truly amazing getting to the moon was at the time.
In 1969, there were computers the size of basketball courts doing calculations along with men and women working calculations by hand to get trajectories right. Figuring out speeds and thrusts and chemical formulations, along with the stresses the rockets and capsules would endure.
All of this done in a time of a nascent computer era.
I don’t think there was anything before and most certainly after that can be compared.
A human achievement that combined the strength and fortitude of the participants along with the combined knowledge and expertise of hundreds of other people working for one goal.
And don’t forget the timing.
President Kennedy had set us on this race to the moon earlier in the decade and he made sure that NASA would have the funding to get it accomplished but even with money, there are times the impossible cannot be reached and it looked like this would one of those times. Yet, the men and women of NASA persevered and got it done. They got it done when this country was breaking apart at the seams. The civil rights movement, the deaths of Dr King and Robert Kennedy, the war in Vietnam. The country was fracturing in many different directions and I am sure the Johnson administration and the Nixon administration hoped that a successful Moon landing would help to bring the country back together.
It did.
The sense of pride felt by every American on July 19th, 1969 started a healing process few talk about. While doing what was thought to be impossible a few years before, the space program created a renewed sense of pride for almost all Americans, but as 1969 wound down, that pride would revert back to the discord and distrust of our political establishment that would end taking several more years to correct.
As we approach the anniversary of the first Moon landing, I think we need to celebrate an amazing achievement but not forget how it tied a broken country back together, even for a short period of time.

Even with some bright spots in the economic picture I am staying the same.
Not using good money to chase bad timing.

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