Before there was Michael Jackson, Neil Armstrong did a moon walk. Today, at the age of 82, he began a new journey into the heavens.
Neil and I go way back. As a child I was a huge fan of the Apollo program, NASA’s manned missions to our moon. I kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings, photographs, and even my own handwritten tributes. I still have that scrapbook today. I remember following the preparations, the launch, and the long flight. I remember holding my breath during the minutes of silence when radio contact was lost as the command module passed around the back side of the moon. And I remember “The Eagle has Landed” when Armstrong and crew mate Buzz Aldrin first landed the oddly shaped Lunar Module on the surface of the moon. And I remember feeling sad for Michael Collins, who had to pilot the command module of the Apollo 11 mission while Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon.
Armstrong’s words remain a powerful reminder of what this country can accomplish when we work together for a common goal.
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
They did it in 1969 with computers less powerful than an iPhone. With today’s technology, we have no excuses for denying the amazing knowledge we gain from science. Let us use it wisely. Neil would want us to move forward.
Watch the first moon walk:
Watch the second moon walk:
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.