It was 9:56 AM as I sat in the living room with my eyes glued to the television, and heard Neal Armstrong proclaim to the universe, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
For a twelve year old’s imagination, hopes and dreams, this was not just a step onto the moon, but a step into the heavens. My heart pounded and mind raced at what promised to be the beginning of a new way of life.
My God, we’d just touched the surface of another world. Nothing would ever be the same again. If we could do this, there would be no problems that mankind could not overcome. Over population, famine and war would no longer haunt us. Star Trek had it right all along. We were now free to move among the stars. Surely, it would only be a matter of a few years and there would be a colony on the Moon, then Mars and then beyond our solar system. The expanse of the universe was now our playground. Nothing can hold humanity back.
By the end of the week, baseball, fishing and summer days had pushed the momentous occasion out of my mind. Once the ‘space race’ was over, we realized that we had nothing to win. Without a prize, it didn’t take long for humanity to lose interest as well.