The Apollo 11 Space Flight: Man Explores the Moon and Gains Perspective

The Apollo 11 Space Flight: Man Explores the Moon and Gains Perspective

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The 1960's brought cultural transformation through outbreaks of violence and contention. The "Love and Peace" slogan led to a bloody fear of "War and Hate." It was an era of protest and revolt. The decade began with the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., escalated with the viciousness of Vietnam, and ended with the suspicion of Watergate. And somewhere in the terror of freedom, we saw two Americans walk on the moon. It was while staring at that crystalline sphere hovering above us that we pondered the scope of our opportunity. On that warm summer night it was a miracle of technology, a step into a new world, a celebrated triumph. We engaged in a political race to the moon against the Communists with a democratic pride that launched us to a new age of scientific exploration. They were footsteps that would be talked about for centuries bringing information that would influence us for decades.

America's Race for the Moon

Following the Atomic Bomb of World War II, the United States was a recognized "Superpower," the technological king of advancement. Through our new Elvis albums and poodle skirts, we were enjoying the satisfaction of being the "winning team." However, in 1957, our pride was pierced when news hit that Russia had successfully launched "Sputnik," the first artificial satellite to circle the earth. As President Kennedy said, "We are behind and will be for a period in the future" (Sullivan 142). We were no longer the superior champions we once were.

The Soviet Union seemed unstoppable; by 1961 Russian Major Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the earth in a spaceship. Less than two months later, the United States publicly announced their 20 billion dollar space program, Project...


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...s. By viewing the Earth as a whole, we discovered truths about humanity that sparked a new perspective of thought and understanding for our generation and the generations to come. "We touched the face of another world, and became people without limits" (Chaikin ix).

Works Cited

Chaikin, Andrew. A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.

Folger, Tim, Sarah Richardson, and Carl Zimmer. "Remembering Apollo." Discover July 1994: 38-58.

Spirit of Apollo: A Collection of Reflective Interviews. AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1989.

Sullivan, Walter, ed. America's Race for the Moon: The New York Times Story of Apollo. New York: Random House Publishers, 1962.

Wilford, John Noble. We Reach the Moon; the New York Times story of Man's Greatest Adventure. New York: Bantum Books, 1969.

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