51 years since moon landing

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Each year of the last half century, Americans have observed National Moon Day on July 20. It was on this date in 1969 that humans first walked on the moon. NASA reported the moon landing as, “the single greatest technological achievement of all time.”

The space program encouraged a spirit of empowerment, optimism and healthy positivity toward our nation.

July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 opened up and the first humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, stepped out onto the moon. Armstrong spent two and a half hours outside Apollo stepped out for slightly less time. The two collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Their pilot, Michael Collins remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.

Across the world, people were glued to their black-and-white TV sets watching the mission. Armstrong announced as he stepped onto the lunar surface that the accomplishment was “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Reaching the moon placed the U.S. in a role to go forth and explore farther and deeper into the reach of the universe. The cold war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union moved to the outer reaches as the space race was on.

Fast forward 50 years later and for a price, humans can take private missions to explore the solar system. The one small step inspired innovation, imagination, and wonder for two subsequent generations so far.

President Richard Nixon proclaimed National Moon Landing Day two years later on July 20, 1971 to commemorate the anniversary.

No continuing proclamation has followed, but we agree with James J. Mullaney, former staff astronomer at the Allegheny Observatory. He said, “If there’s a Columbus Day on the calendar, there certainly should be a Moon Day.” Mullaney has been working with governors, congress members and senators in all 50 states urging them to create National Moon Day.

If you’re on social media, share at the hashtag #NationalMoonDay.

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