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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We came in Peace, for all Mankind

Forty years ago (yesterday), Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. They got out of their landing module and walked around a little bit, then they got back in and headed home. For the first time ever, Man walked on a surface other than the Earth.

It seems like such a small thing until you consider the decade of planning and preparation, the multitude of technological breakthroughs, the tens of thousands of people and not least, the millions and perhaps billions of dollars spent to make that short lunar visit possible.

All of the flight engineers at Mission Control were young; the average age was 26. In fact, the guy in charge of the whole mission was only 36 years old. That's how old I am! The responsibility for the success or failure of that mission, not to mention the lives of the astronauts, must have been a heavy burden indeed.

Why did they do it? Why did all those people sacrifice so much for one short lunar expedition? I really don't know. I'm well aware that Pres. Kennedy gave an inspiring speech challenging America to put a man on the moon, but I doubt that was the sole motivation for all those people. I like to think that maybe the old pioneer spirit sparked and set fire to the hearts of those people, but maybe they did it just to see if they could.

Whatever their reasons, I'm awfully glad they did.

On the Apollo 11 lunar landing module there is a plaque. It says, in part, "We came in peace, for all mankind" I can't help but be inspired by that sentiment. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we, as a species, could unite under the banner of peaceful exploration? If we could just leave all the anger and hatred and violence behind and take that giant step out to see what's beyond the confines of our beloved Earth?

Thank you Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong and all the thousands of scientists and workers, spouses and children, who sacrificed in order to show us that we can do whatever we set our minds to. Thank you to those who are still working and sacrificing for that very same lofty ideal.

Maybe someday soon we will come in Peace, yet again.


Pat said...

What a great remembrance! I loved it. So many thing inspire me as to the greatness of people all around me and throughout the years I have been privileged to be here. Thank you for reminding us to take a minute and remember.

Love ya,

Rebecca said...

Here here!