I have lived in a world where no one had stepped on the moon, where little boys knew how to count backwards to ten, and yell “blast off!” before they could count forwards, because they thrilled at launches of Mercury and Gemini rockets.
I didn't pay much attention until Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and that small step for a man became a giant leap for mankind. In that instant the world was one; millions of people around the globe stood in front to televisions in living rooms and store windows to share moment a human history. America might have been the first to land on the moon, but it took the world with them and filled it with joy and hope.
It seemed a new world opened, and in many ways it had. Science and technology soared much like those early rockets; the ubiquitous cell phones we hold have more memory than the computers that took those early astronauts to the moon, and yet we curse them when they drop a call or the battery drains too quickly. Knowledge gained from space explorations changed our world in ways we take for granted fifty years later.
And yet, for all that we have not learned how to come together as we did on that July night when the eyes of the world focused 238,900 miles into the sky with dreams of seeing men on the moon. The promise of those long ago July days has been lost in man's greed and egotism. I wonder if we will ever find it again.
That was fifty years ago; at the pace we are going, a moment like that will not come again in my lifetime. But I remember that small step and fan the embers of hope.