The history of civilization has been punctuated by events that altered empires, advanced science, and witnessed creative genius. I believe that that history can be divided into two eras. In the latter era, men have walked on the surface of the moon.
The year 1969 must have been one of the most exciting to experience. I wish I had been alive that night–forty years ago–to watch Walter Cronkite, with an expression of obvious joy, announce that Neil Armstrong had taken that “giant leap for mankind”. It represented the conclusion of the dramatic story arc begun even before Cronkite informed America that President Kennedy had died in Dallas.
Today, Walter Cronkite is dead, and the astronauts of Apollo 11 are almost eighty-years-old. Most Americans alive today were born after July 20, 1969.
Men from the dawn of time pondered the moon. Even when the ancients understood the lunar cycle and the moon’s effect on tides, so much was still shrouded in mystery. That mystery inspired artists, poets, and entire religions. It also inspired men of science, who, by 1969, had at their disposal the technology needed to lift that beautiful veil. We lost the mystery and wonder forever.
I do not know what the future holds for civilization. Whatever great strides we may make, we will never equal that “one small step for a man”.