Look how far living boldly has taken us

Fifty years ago today, the world watched alongside us, the United States of America, as man set foot on the moon and planted the stars and stripes.

It was momentous; generations of previous decades may have laughed at the notion of flying through space, scoffed even, and the idea would have been quite foreign to those living in the century before. But by this day in 1969, we had developed the technology that would send rockets past the stratosphere and carry man to a distant body.

The vast majority of those alive in 1969 were somewhere near a television set, if not glued to it, to watch Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin as they touched down on the surface of the moon in Apollo 11.

“The eagle has landed,” Armstrong radioed to Mission Control in Houston.

Then, after six and a half hours had passed, Armstrong emerged from the craft in his heavy white space suit and helmet, famously saying: “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”

Fast forward 50 years.

Sending man into space has become so commonplace that we seldom stop what we are doing to watch it unfold on TV. Space tourism is a real concept. We have sent an unmanned craft to Mars, and people are signing up for the Mars One project to leave Earth behind forever and establish a permanent human settlement on the red planet. And now the military is getting another layer of national defense with a new Space Force or Space Corps — the name is up for debate as Congress drafts a National Defense Authorization Act.

There was a day when people would have questioned the sanity behind such ideas. Others saw their brilliance. We have come far, because bold people refused to be timid in their quest to push the envelope, to fly like the birds, to go faster than sound, to stretch our reach beyond the stratosphere.

It makes a person wonder, where will mankind take us in another 50 years?

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