We are all witnesses to history and those of us who are presently living have witnessed a great deal. I remember the Kennedy assassination. I was in elementary school and they made an announcement about the death and we went home early. I was too young to understand but I remember the event and remember being scared. I remember "nuclear bomb" drills in elementary school during the cold war when a special alarm sounded and we all went to a safe area and put our head between our legs so we would not look at the nuclear blast. I was in a hotel when the terrorist attacked in 2001 and watched the events unfold on television before I began the drive home. But, the biggest historical event of my life (thus far) was July 20, 1969. On that day, I sat on my grandparents' couch and watched a grainy black and white image of Neil Armstrong descending the steps of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) onto the surface of the moon. That, my friends, was history that will be retold for centuries to come. But, what I also remember was that the feats of Armstrong and Aldrin and NASA actually brought the world together. At least, for a while, we were not Americans, Canadians, Mexicans--we were citizens of Earth. As I look back, the feat of putting a man on the moon was overwhelming. Using a computer with less power than a Commodore 64, they left the earth, travelled to the moon, explored the moon, and safely returned to Earth. That feat parallels the sixteenth century explorers who left the comfortable confines of Europe to search for a new world.
It has been 40 years since Apollo 11 landed on the Sea of Tranquility. I was in awe then and even more in awe now. America may be temporarily down now. But, our spirit will again lift us up like in did on that hot July day in 1969.