July 20, 2004

Happy Moon Landing

It was exactly 35 years ago today (on July 20th, 1969) that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin completed their historic trip to the moon. These men were among the first members of a fairly new profession at the time known as "astronauts" (men who travel into outer space). The moon, as some of you may know, is the earth's only natural satellite (that means it orbits around us, held on its path by our gravitational pull, you see).

Armstrong's and Aldrin's (both Americans, by the way . . . Russian space travelers are called "cosmonauts") landing on the moon was the culmination of our 12-year "Space Race" with the Soviet Union. The Soviets had launched the first man-made object (Sputnik) to breach the atmosphere in 1957, and had also launched the first flight to carry a man (Yuri Gagarin) both into space and into orbit in 1961.

America had started late in the race, and it took years for us to catch up, but by 1969, NASA (that's "National Aeronautics and Space Administration," by the way . . . the government agency in charge of space exploration) had caught up and were finally ready to win the race after the long haul. We beat those Commies to the moon, and Armstrong's first words as he stepped out of the lunar lander will forever be remembered by the hundreds of millions of people who were watching him on television: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

You know, I like to think of that great day in our history as a sort of global parallel to the events celebrated by the nation of France on July 14th. You see, on that day in 1789, French revolutionaries stormed "the Bastille Saint-Antoine, a castle serving as a political prison in Paris." This marks the beginning of the French Revolution and is still celebrated today as the day that France finally took steps to free itself from the oppressive rule of the monarchy.

In the same way, we as a race symbolically "stormed" the moon on July 20th, 1969, declaring our freedom from the earth's oppressive gravitational pull, which had until that time kept us tied to itself, unable to soar high above it as our imaginations had already been doing for centuries.

In conclusion, there is certainly no mockery of Wilson whatsoever going on in this post, and there is also no sarcasm whatsoever at LeTourneau.

Thank you, and good night.

Posted by Jared at July 20, 2004 10:15 PM | TrackBack