July 20, 1969! The whole world watched as Neal Armstrong stepped on the surface of the moon.
Fifty years ago, Americans celebrated together with the rest of the world. Every child wanted to be an astronaut. Thousands of American men and women worked tirelessly to pioneer new technologies that sent a manned spaceship from Earth to the moon and safely back home.
Families and friends were glued to the television from July 16 to July 24, 1969. No one wanted to miss the amazing Saturn 5 rocket ship liftoff in Cape Canaveral, Florida. What a thrill it was to see the huge engine flames forcing the rocket to rise up through the sky. We held our breath when each empty booster was jettisoned to propel the three astronaut pilots into outer space.
During the mission, we watched the tension and excitement of the men and women in Houston, Texas, as they spoke to the brave astronauts and described the complicated processes to everyone watching from Earth.
The world cheered when the Eagle landed safely on the moon. We laughed and clapped as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin frolicked on the moon, collected samples, and posted the American flag. Michael Collins piloted the command module, Columbia, and successfully docked with the Eagle Lunar Lander, bringing all three men safely home to splash down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
Celebrations and parades were held throughout the world to honor the brave men and women who made this historical journey possible.
Velcro, Tang, baby formula, freeze-drying, space blankets, memory foam, Dust Busters, middle-ear implants and ear thermometers, Super Soaker toys, reduce-drag swimsuits, mobile phones and GoPro cameras, artificial limbs, and WWW – World-Wide Web are just a sample of the innovative products and discoveries that humans use every day. All thanks to the American space program.
My prayer is that Americans will continue to be brave, accept the challenge to explore the unknown and stand united to help all nations thrive in peace and prosperity.
I hope you will take some time to remember and relive the most exciting and happy time in American history. When humankind all stood together as one and declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!”