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.

~Elise Skidmore ©2019

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