For those younger than their mid-40s, memories of man's first landing on the moon are as faint as the soft beams that emanate from that fabled lunar body. For those who are older, the Apollo 11 mission was an unforgettable historic event.
Monday marks the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong's historic steps on the moon. It stands out in historic moments, because, unlike the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, this was a positive event that was etched into the memory of each person who was old enough to absorb it.
The challenge to fly a man to the moon had been issued in 1961 by a young, attractive U.S. president, instantly launching the space race and helping the nation shake off the notion that our Communist adversaries were progressing more rapidly than we were.
John F. Kennedy would soon fall to an assassin's bullet but his passing lent added emphasis to the importance of the Apollo mission.
The moon landing was an American success story at a time when the nation desperately needed a respite from wearying 1960s. Those turbulent times featured a divisive Vietnam war, political assassinations, riots in many major cities and an emerging counterculture that disturbed many citizens.
On that quiet summer night in 1969 Minnesota kids shuttled back and forth from television sets to a backyard view of the moon, impressed that for once, someone was actually up there and the big bright object could be observed simultaneously on TV and with the naked eye.
Interest in flight and aviation spiked during the race to the moon, in a similar manner to which America was fascinated with flying in the years that followed Charles Lindbergh's first transatlantic flight.
The world has benefited in many ways from technology that was developed for space travel but the inspiration and confidence that it gave the world was just as important.
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