Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin–Heroism turns 40

Yes, today is a day for celebration.

No, this is not about my blog reaching 300,000 hits today, although I am proud of what I have accomplished in the last 2 years, 4 months, and 9 days.

This is about an event even more important than that, which occurred three years before I even entered this world.

On July 20, 1969, 40 years ago today, Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Moments later Buzz Aldrin joined him.

Those two men will be heroes long after all of us have departed from this Earth.

I beam with pride in thinking of their accomplishment, but I cannot begin to imagine how proud people were the day it happened.

My generation, sadly enough, appears to be defined by 9/11. The World War II generation knew depression and hardship.

Yet despite the political assassinations, Vietnam war, and breakdown of the American social fabric, the decade ended on a sky high note. Forget sky high. This was moon high.

Yet while so many people agree that this landing on the moon mattered so much, so many questions arise as to why.

When all is said and done, space exploration is another validation of the unique greatness that is the United States of America.

Yes, there are those that put the USA and the U.S.S.R. on the same moral plane, but people in Eastern Europe will be the first to admit with little provocation that freedom and liberty are better things to experience than tyranny and emotional enslavement.

Two ways of life were struggling for world dominance. The Russians had Sputnik, but it did not succeed. We had Apollo.

There are many parallels between the American landing on the moon, and the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, New York. It was not just a hockey game or a walk on the moon. It was about beating the Russians.

Americans have had dominance, but we have also had tough times. Nations, like human beings, have had pangs of self-doubt.

America was being ripped asunder in the 1960s. We were losing something intangible.This was on top of the tangible tragedies.

One President had been murdered, another presidential candidate had been murdered, and an inspiring voice who preached healing had been murdered.

We needed a win. We needed something, anything positive.

The fallen President once said that “We choose to go to the moon, not because these things are easy, but because they are hard.”

The truth is we did not choose to go to the moon. We had to. We were slipping. We needed a triumph.

When Neil Armstrong spoke about a giant leap for mankind, he meant American-kind. It was not a global or United Nations flag that he and Buzz Aldrin planted. It was the Stars and Stripes.

America is a powerful nation, but it is also a kind nation. Never has a nation been so muscular, yet used that might for goodness. We feed, clothe, protect, and defend the world.

We invented the internet that has allowed for global communication.That was after over two centuries of greatness.

We invented the airplane, thanks to Orville and Wilbur Wright.

We also have men of steel such as Sully Sullenberger, who help keep those planes on the safe side of life. Danger is always lurking just beyond the safe zone.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted that flag, they let the world know that America would go anywhere and do anything to keep its edge.

Yet like Sully Sullenberger all those years later, what Armstrong and Aldrin represented most was hope.

America does so many good things, but the world has so many bad events. Hurricanes, floods, fires, Earthquakes, and other natural disasters destroy environments and human lives. Diseases and pestilences kill many more, and that is before starvation and dehydration kill others. That is before factors such as world wide terrorism even begin to rear an ugly head.

Even good people can lose hope. They can lose heart. They can throw in the towel.

Even powerful empires are run by people that need reassurance of their abilities.

The landing on the moon did not just lift soldiers into space. It lifted an entire nation on the shoulders of two astronauts.

Americans are people that can do things. We roll up our sleeves, try our best, and eventually succeed. On top of that, the entire world benefits from this.

Maybe next we will find life on Mars. Maybe there will be life forms similar to what we have on Earth. Maybe those life forms will teach us how to cure cancer and heart disease.

Farfetched? Only as farfetched as landing men on the moon.

Times are tough in America, but we have a resilient spirit. Forty years after we walked on the moon, we look forward to our next great achievement.

Congratulations to the heroes of Neil Arm strong and Buzz Aldrin.

Only in America could they have reached their level of greatness.


5 Responses to “Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin–Heroism turns 40”

  1. […] Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin–Heroism turns 40 | THE TYGRRRR EXPRESS […]

  2. I think there has been another great acheivement, though perhaps not as “heroic,” over the past forty years, and that’s been the sequencing of the human genome. I think one day that will even far outshine the accomplishment of landing on the moon, a heroic but rather pointless endeavor. Manned space flight, if you ask me, is rather pointless in general. We need to get more robots up there and we need to get them to more places. Yes, humans can do more, they are more agile and can act more extempopraneously and without remote control, but they require too much weight in supplies and life support, and the technology to keep them healthy in space for indefinite periods is still way off. Meanwhile we have all these interesting bodies flying around in space just waiting for our probes to explore them – no adolescent entendre intended. Miracle cures aside, think of all the possible exotic substances, new materials that might be synthesized, new ways of understanding our universe and ways to manipulate it… The possibilities are endless. Manned space flight only stifles those possibilities. We need more remote exploration of space and less vain flag-planting on alien bodies. That is adolescent. Entendre intended.


  3. […] Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin–Heroism turns 40 | THE TYGRRRR EXPRESS […]

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