On this day, forty-seven years ago, two human beings named Neil and Buzz landed on the Moon for the very first time. Their friend Mike circled high overhead waiting for them while they explored for the better part of a day. Tens of thousands of humans had a direct role in helping them get there, and billions watched and hoped for their safe return.
All this happened less than twenty-five years after humanity nearly tore itself apart in a world-spanning war that cost nearly 100 million lives, saw two cities leveled by atomic fire and dozens more razed by the old-fashioned kind.
While Neil and Buzz walked on the Moon, more than 35,000 nuclear weapons stood ready to be launched at a moment’s notice. A remote, costly, and seemingly endless war against a dedicated insurgency raged. Protests against war and injustice filled the streets. And yet for a moment, the world watched in wonder together as humanity took its first tentative steps on another world.
We are a complicated species. We can do great and terrible things when we put our minds to it. Building a better world will take focus, patience, tolerance, love, forgiveness, and lots of hard work.
Don’t believe everything you hear. Humanity still has those qualities in abundance. We just need to show it. We just need to do it.
Let’s start today. Let’s start together.
All it takes is one small step.