July 20, 1969: Following a decades-long pursuit of monetary and intellectual energy for a once-in-a-lifetime moment of unrivaled ingenuity, coupled with the bravery of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, the United States successfully landed a man (well, three men) on the moon.
“That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Still an astonishing achievement 50 years later.
As part of the celebration and necessary reminder of that historic journey into the ever-expansive and unforgiving darkness of space, let’s recall the presidential charge given by John F. Kennedy back in 1962.
Interestingly, my parents attended the “JFK Space Summit” at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum on June 19, 2019. One of the panels, “NASA: From the Moon to Mars 7 Beyond” featured Apollo 11 Lunar Command Module pilot Michael Collins. Moreover, Douglas Brinkley signed copies of his new book American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race. My parents bought one of those signed books, which they will hopefully allow me to borrow so I can learn in-depth facts of that amazing journey as chronicled by a New York Times bestselling author.
Listening to President Kennedy’s unambiguous message to Americans is still an astonishingly ambitious — and uniquely American — declaration more than 50 years later.
While there is a long list of awe-inspiring films made about space with a certain reliance on realism– ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘Gravity,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ ‘The Right Stuff’ — the documentaries and based-on-real-events’ film ‘First Man’ about the famed Apollo 11 mission take on a different gravity of storytelling.
CNN’s ‘Apollo 11’ documentary along with the July 12th-release of the documentary ‘Armstrong’ that is narrated by the quintessentially rebellious American voice of Harrison Ford celebrates and takes us back to how that triumphant mission came together for this country as well as mankind.
Here is the trailer for ‘Armstrong.’
According to reviews, ‘Armstrong’ does not live up to fellow 2019 documentary ‘Apollo 11’ or the major motion picture ‘First Man’ yet it still provides insights into the man who seemed destined to help perform the moonshot of all moonshots.
On that note, what will be America’s next “moonshot”?
There will be no shortage of ideas in the coming week as we celebrate the Apollo 11 mission that was a giant leap 50 years ago, forever holding a unique space in human history.