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Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon
Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon. 1969. Photo courtesy of NASA.

We came in peace for all mankind

The Apollo 11 Mission

Pictured above is one of the most recognizable and fascinating images of this century. Buzz Aldrin stands in a small crater, millions of years old, amidst a landscape that appears surreal due to the lack of atmosphere. Reflected in the visor are the photographer, Neil Armstrong, and the lunar module, the Eagle. In the low gravity, the astronauts had difficulty orientating themselves straight up and down which explains the tilt of the picture. It’s also interesting to note the well-defined footprints in the soft lunar surface that will exist until a chance meteor erases them.

Unlike the impression one may get from this picture, most heroes don’t stand alone. History tends to remember the person who made the “one small step,” like Neil Armstrong. But let’s not forget Buzz Aldrin who made the second step; or, Michael Collins who orbited the moon patiently waiting in the command module to bring the others home, and whose own steps were also a “giant leap for mankind.”

Let’s not forget the vision of a leader:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. Because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept. One we are unwilling to postpone. And one we intend to win.

John F. Kennedy.

Or for that matter, let’s not forget the followers, the passionate and patriotic citizens that it took to support such a goal.

And, let’s not forget those who gave their lives, like Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee who died during a fire in a preflight test on the first Apollo Mission.

Lastly, let’s not forget ourselves and our desires to dream and to aspire to even more lofty goals.

Below is a clip from what I think is the most inspirational presidential speech I have ever seen. It’s a great example of setting a big goal to achieve a lot of little goals.

This is a brief excerpt of JFK’s “Going to the moon” speech given at Rice University on September 12, 1962.

Transcript: We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

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