“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”(Apollo 11, np). Neil Armstrong’s words resonated in the hearts and minds of those who were glued to their televisions. July 20th, 1969 was a historic day that is considered to have changed the world. It was a significant advancement in aerospace exploration. Even though very few will have the opportunity to grow up and work for NASA, it still holds a vital importance to students. The idea that a dream could turn into a reality unfolded on the television set that mid-summer evening. A section that would be added to history books, I sat there and watched a man in a white suit hop across the grainy-greyed atmosphere. Many doubted the possibility and even more feared what could go wrong, but Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin boarded the shuttle and set off to do the impossible.
Humanity finally broke the barriers that restricted man to earth. An American flag was proudly placed on the moon, representing the accomplishments of our nation. They made the journey to accomplish something that has never been done before. Fear, apprehension, uncertainties these are all paralyzing feelings that stop us from doing what we want to do. It stops us from doing something extraordinary and remaining in a place that is safe. The crew of that mission knew the risk they were taking, but they did it anyway. That was the day where America was able to take credit for landing on the moon; it was a proud moment. The decade that preceded this day was turbulent at best. America was facing the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. To say that society needed this win, at this point, would be an understatement.
The ability to land on the moon is directly attributed to visionary and influential leadership. President Kennedy addressed the Congress and stated, “…this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” (Apollo 11, np). It takes a very strong leader with a vision and ability to inspire others to be able to accomplish such an endeavor. The balance of power in the United States showed the three branches of the government supporting the mission to the moon. The key players behind the scene played a vital role in preparing for the mission. Even though President Kennedy was assassinated before landing on the moon, he believed that it was time for America to progress and to take new ventures. It was estimated that six million people watched around the world to see what would happen in this mission. It marked the largest viewing audience tuning into a single event and consisted of about one-fifth of the world’s population. Russia was the first nation to put a satellite into space, and America feared they would never be able to catch up. But in eight short years, America was able to develop the Apollo program and move the nation ahead.
People wanted to witness this event, and those without a television were said to have gone to a hotel so they could be a part of the event. Rumors had it that people tried to watch with telescopes from the ground. Armstrong made the journey and established a historical point, but he never wanted the fame. The quiet man proudly attempted to do the impossible and wanted to return to life as normal. Landing on the moon provided an opportunity for America to distinguish themselves, and to open the door for future space explorations.
- “Apollo 11 Moon Landing.” John F. Kennedy, 2016, https://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-Legacy/NASA-Moon-Landing.aspx. Accessed 28 Apr. 2017.