Lunar Landing 43rd Anniversary

The moon has been mankind’s friend in the night since we first gazed up and realized it was there. Religions and cultures have come and gone that were dedicated to the moon and astral bodies. Forty-three years ago, the US accomplished what every person has at one time thought of. We sent a man to the moon.

“One Small Step for Man…”

In May of 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged the country to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade. America met this challenge exactly 43 years ago; eight years of American ingenuity, hard work, and perseverance had paid off. The President had made the call after the US had been embarrassed after the Soviets had been making strides in space flight, especially after launching the first satellite – Sputnik.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon on July 20th 1969, over 400 million people were glued to their televisions. The moon landing was the most watched and unifying experience of our country for many years. Turns out the famous quote “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” was incorrectly interpreted. Armstrong had actually said “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Not that it matters a great deal; he was on the moon, for crying out loud! And the original quote is quite catchy anyway.

The trip to the moon used almost 6 million pounds of fuel and covered a distance of 240,250 miles. It remains today one of the greatest accomplishments and contributions to humanity that the US has ever made. It’s a symbol of our ingenuity and the strength of the American spirit.

Heck after a few years the US had nailed the moon landings that the astronauts even had some fun up there in the midst of some of the most significant human accomplishments!

What NASA Discovered Along the Way

The public also benefited from all of the hard work NASA put into the moon mission and space program in general.

NASA has given us a great deal of inventions and technology. Some of the most useful are artificial limbs, dialysis, MRIs and CAT Scans, Breast Cancer Screening, and ultrasound to assess skin damage.

Contrary to popular belief, NASA did not invent Velcro, Tang, or Teflon. But NASA technology did contribute to aerodynamic golf balls, cordless power tools, freeze-dried food, and athletic shoes. Yeah, I bet you didn’t know your running shoes took some tech from moon boots. I certainly didn’t – but I like my shoes even more now.

Celebrate and Remember the Lunar Landing

There are some events going on around the country today to celebrate the 43rd moon landing. In Apollo, Pennsylvania, a celebration is scheduled for the moon landings today. In Dallas, Texas, Moon Day 2012 is scheduled for July 21st. This celebration is full of exhibits, art, shows, activities for kids, and even Moon Academy classes.

Amie’s dad is involved in a really cool event in Colorado. Where he works, ULA, is celebrating the lunar landing by supporting a lesson about the moon landing and then launching water bottle rockets with kids at the Children’s Museum of Denver.

Be sure to check out your local museums, libraries, or with local government in case some great events are scheduled for kids and families in your neck of the woods!

Whether you have an event to go to or not, today is a great time to reflect on the American spirit. With politics getting more divisive and much of the economy still trying to recover, it’s easy to lose sight of who we are as a people and what we can accomplish when we put our minds together. The moon landing is a reminder of how important teamwork and a common goal are to us in our culture.

So whether you have a small business or a big one, or simply have strong personal desires, set lofty goals and that American spirit that got us to the moon will start to show. It might take many small steps to get there, or it might take a few leaps, but with hard work, you’ll make it.

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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