On July 21st, this year, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first humans to set foot on the surface of the moon.  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and the thousands who worked together on Apollo 11 uplifted our spirit and made us come together as a nation.  We (they) proved, that if we set our goals high enough and work together we can accomplish the “impossible.Apollo 11

I’m not a fan of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  I think she is naive, young, very taken with herself (and her newfound power).  Her ‘Green New Deal’ plan is just one short step outside the door of the insane asylum.  In order to achieve her dream of zero emissions and a ‘green’ world, she has called for us to mount the type of unified effort that it took to put men on the moon.   Her GND plan is crazy, but the idea to dream of something bigger and more difficult than ever before accomplished is worthy of consideration.

JFK’s call to put a man on the moon was a call to unification for a nation then divided.  Kennedy had won a very close election, decided by about 100,000 votes often attributed to Nixon’s 5:00 o’clock shadow on TV.  How interesting that it was Nixon who was President when Mr. Kennedy’s dream came to fruition.  His dream saw the nation as proud and jubilant as at almost any time in history.

Putting a man on the Moon was a huge effort and a huge risk.  The chance of failure  was very real.  Literally millions of things had to go right but a single thing going wrong could have spelled disaster.   What if the Astronauts were landed on the Moon but unable to come back.  This was more than just a possibility as the return trip planning stretched our capabilities to the absolute limit.

Mr. Nixon had, of necessity, made plans for that.  William Safire, one of his speech writers had prepared a statement to be read by Nixon in case of failure.  You never think about that side of history,  the place that holds the defeated, the casualties, and those who fail. Who was the second man to break the 4-minute mile after Roger Bannister?  Who were the people in Britain’s first eight attempts who failed to climb Everest before Sir Edmund Hillary?   Can you name the men who died trying to be the first to sustain powered flight before the Wright Brothers succeeded?

Here is Safire’s speech.  In my view, it is a masterpiece.  It is wonderful that it was not needed:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

Would it not be a great thing if we could again, as a nation, work together to strive for the moon?

 

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