By Mark Constance
July 20, 1969.
Not exactly a date of infamy, but a day our nation can be proud of. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin flew to the moon, and walked.
Even though I was eight years old, I still remember that day vividly.
We lived on Flanders on the East Side of Detroit. It was dark outside, and my daily responsibility was to take out the trash. I had been gone all and had to take it out when I got home.
It was hot. Air conditioners were expensive back then. Everyone’s windows were open, and you could hear all the sounds of the neighborhood.
I could hear my mom yell to my dad, “Gordon! Get Mark in here. I think he should see this.”
My dad called me in, and we sat down, like millions of other people, in front of a black and white TV. I didn’t know what it all meant, as he stepped onto the moon surface. I still believed it was green cheese. I do remember wondering if he would sink, like it was quicksand.
And history, for all mankind was made that day. We accomplished something no one thought could be done.
When President John F. Kennedy said we needed to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, as a nation, we apparently took it seriously. It was an “impossible” task.
My dad told me he wasn’t allowed to read Flash Gordon comic books when he was a kid. My grandma would take them away from him and say that will never happen. But even he seemed to believe, as he told me he started keeping his comics in his bible so she wouldn’t know he was reading them.
Texting on my phone earlier I wondered if we, as a nation, will ever be able to do anything great like this again. So much divisiveness in the country today. Not that there wasn’t social upheaval in the 1960s, but this was a goal everyone could get behind. And Kennedy used the power of the presidency to offer us a chance to be part of something greater than ourselves. And we all got together and just pushed. And we, as a nation, made it happen.
We can put a man on the moon, once thought impossible.
But as I read about the world today, and the divisiveness and hatred emanating from all parts of the country due to a void in genuine leadership across the board, I wonder if we will ever be able to do something like this again.
Hopefully. My fingers are crossed.
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