OK, so I was a little kid in 1969 but the world was alive with possibilities that summer…….the first Lunar Walk, Woodstock, hey – even The Beatles were still together! All of these positive events happening as the Vietnam War raged on without Twitter and without Facebook.
I remember that summer night of July 20, 1969. I could barely keep my eyes open as the world waited for Neil Armstrong to take his first steps on something unearthly. I nodded out with explicit instructions to my Mom that she had better wake me up in time. You see, I not only wanted to be a TV newscaster but I also wanted to be an astronaut. These men were heroes; they were venturing where no human had ever been before – a true journey into the unknown in every sense of the word. No one knew if they would even return to tell their tale, especially after losing the crew of Apollo 1 two years earlier while it was still earthbound.
Yet, by taking “One small step for man – one giant leap for mankind,” Neil Armstrong united the world with a reassuring utterance. We seemed to be joined in that one global moment by a fuzzy black and white image generated from a camera 384,403 km away (238,856 miles).
Putting a man on the moon was a technological marvel and it was during that scientific renaissance that the Internet was born. Yet something has happened along the way. In this reporter’s opinion the Internet has further divided the globe and created a global dissonance of misinformation and misguided relationships. It has created a global cacophony of pessimism rather than a humanity of optimism. We will never feel the hope of the summer of ’69 again unless we, the collective we, can believe in something outside of ourselves, unless we can have a goal of a future full of possibilities despite the global strife, despite the economic woes, despite the divisiveness of religious and ethnic clashes which separate us.
NASA’s Space Shuttle program is scheduled to end next year and in this economic climate no one is sure what will happen to the space program when that occurs. Yet, NASA should be funded to the fullest because in NASA lies the hopes of a better tomorrow, the dream that we can shoot for the stars and maybe even reach Mars….or find a ripple in the space-time continuum. Society needs something hopeful to strive for and the answer is out there in the universe.