Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Moon Landing: A Perspective

Moon Landing: A Perspective
At the risk of sounding like an old fart, let me try to place the Moon Landing in the context of times that existed before many here were born.

In 1961, JFK took office, and the Camelot years began. America was young and vibrant and ready to join the Peace Corps to save the world. Wars were for our parents’ generation. Our generation was asking what good could we do for our country. That ended in Dallas in November, 1962. Can you imagine how you would feel if Obama suddenly died today? Think how you felt watching the planes hit the towers. That’s it.

Then the world went mad: Vietnam, Watts, Newark, Kent State, Chicago Democratic Convention, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King….In 7 short years we went from Camelot to Hell on Earth in this country. Pandemonium replaced Peace. “Molotov Cocktail” became part of the common vernacular. One was set off right outside my apartment door following MLK’s murder. Being a hippie was an attempt to build a barricade of love and flowers as a shield from the insanity that reigned.

Then some Americans landed on the moon, and we were suddenly transported back to JFK’s promises of a brighter tomorrow. He told us we could do it in 10 years, and we beat the deadline. Walter Cronkite got choked up on live national tv for the first time since JFK’s funeral. For a few days we could block out the images of body bags, burning businesses, looters, draft lotteries, and dead college students. We had something good and positive and promising to think about. Americans did something no one else had ever done: We took one giant leap for Mankind. July 20, 1969 was a turning point in the national psyche.

This is why I get upset at serious accusations of fakery. It’s almost like Holocaust Survivors must feel when listening to those that deny it happened. Because it DID happen. When Armstrong stepped on the moon, America’s Atlas dropped the burden, stretched, and smiled for a few days before shouldering it once again. Not even Photoshop can’t fake that.
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