Forty years ago today, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin ”Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon.
What an amazing accomplishment. Mankind had been fascinated by the Moon for countless centuries. It’s hard to believe that H.G. Wells wrote his science fiction novel, The First Men In The Moon more than 60 years before man actually set foot on the lunar surface.
There was no excuse at the time to not tune in and watch history in the making. Even if you didn’t have a television, someone you knew did. I had a caller the other day who obviously had his hands full, as many did, fighting the Vietnam War. But his description of how thrilling it was to hear it on a nearby radio almost brought tears to my eyes.
An estimated half a BILLION people watched, which up until that time, was the largest television audience ever.
The Moon landing sparked the imagination of the American people (and people of the world, actually) and young kids donned homemade spacesuits and built their very own cardboard or metal LM (Lunar Module), or Eagle as it was called.
It’s hard to imagine kids being thrilled by it today, and that makes me sad. They are glued to their video games, which by their accounts, are far more “real” and thrilling than seeing a guy in a big white suit walk along a bunch of rocks.
I think this is both tragic and potentially dangerous. Where will the wonder and sense of adventure and exploration come from when the younger generations feel they see and know all they need to, without ever leaving their rooms??
God bless the Apollo 11 astronauts, President Kennedy for his vision to get them there, and our wonderful country–may she never lose her sense of wonder.