Racing to see who could put a man-made object in space first was a competition between two Cold War superpowers — the USSR and the United States.
The winner would gain a military edge. Satellites dramatically improved communications throughout the world. They also offered an unprecedented view of every country — friend and foe alike.
But while the race for space began as what could be seen as a military competition, the moment that defined its end would be words that would unite — not divide — the world.
Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong set foot on the moon 50 years ago today.
Armstrong spoke of his first step on the moon as “one small step for man.”
But as Armstrong also would say, it was, “one giant leap for mankind.”
People from all over the world were glued to whatever television set they could find to watch coverage of the Apollo 11 mission.
The mission brought the world together. Apollo 11 helped focus the imagination, creativity, and aspiration of the whole world — if only for what would be considered a brief moment in Earth’s history.
The USA did not just land on the moon for itself. The mission symbolized what mankind had the ability to do. It showed the whole world the possibilities.
The Apollo 11 mission captured the minds of many children. Youth have tremendous imaginations. Many youth dreamed of being an astronaut. Many chose science and math as career goals after learning what it took to get a man on the moon.
Military advancements require math and science. Much of the technology you use today was either created or enhanced for a military purpose.
Getting man to the moon required math and science. It required the ability to communicate from the Earth to the moon.
Personal computers and cell phones had their beginnings from advancements in science.
The internet and personal technology have made the world a much smaller place.
We can communicate throughout the world with social media.
We always have had the opportunity to unite. We have the ability to communicate messages of hope and peace.
We should realize how our differences are small and our commonality is large.
We should strive for the feeling our fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers felt in the summer of 1969.
We should strive to recapture that moment of glorious hope felt throughout all countries. We are not bound by Earth’s gravity. We can reach for the stars.
That journey brings knowledge and hope and advancement.
Let’s find common ground in the fight to eradicate diseases such as cancer. Let’s find common ground to eliminate hunger.
Today we commemorate man’s first step on the moon.
We remember Armstrong’s words — “One giant leap for mankind.”
Let’s live up to that moment.