It’s time to give our national holidays an upgrade. Let’s make July 20 Moonwalk Day.
July 20 is, of course, the day that man first walked on the moon. That man was from Ohio, of course, and his name was Neil Armstrong.
Most agree that putting men on the moon in 1969 was an amazing feat. It is one of the points in history where our species took a giant leap.
We’ve stumbled since then. We sent a dozen men to the moon and then … nothing. No one from the U.S. has been to the moon in years, none from the Soviets/Russia, too early to tell from China. The cost was as astounding as the accomplishment, and mankind decided to spend local after checking out the new neighborhood.
It’s true that we’ve done incredible things since then with unmanned space missions. We’ve rolled across Mars, swung by Pluto and sent the galactic equivalent of a Hallmark card beyond the solar system.
But it’s the manned missions that are the tentpole events of the space age. In true human fashion, we want to touch the stars ourselves.
We could ditch Columbus Day, which has become mired in ill will and suspect history, for a day that was truly celebrated by the entire world as hundreds of millions of people watched fuzzy black and white TV images of Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on that first lunar walk. Maybe it should be a “for mankind” holiday.
If nothing else, Ohio should make it a state holiday since we know how to fly, from the Wright brothers to John Glenn to Armstrong and back to Glenn, cavorting in the space shuttle at an age when most of us will be lucky to make it back upstairs from the basement.
It shouldn’t be Armstrong Day, because Armstrong wouldn’t have anything to do with that. He made it clear that he felt his first steps were the fruits of 400,000 hands’ labors.
The day can be a yearly reminder of what’s possible when we dream together, work together and hold our breath together as huge goals are reached. A reminder of how we can compete with different ideas, overcome incredible obstacles, and in the end cooperate with a single vision.
Moonwalk Day can be a holiday that doesn’t just commemorate the past, but pushes us to the future. And back to the stars.
Gary Presley is pagination director for AIM Media Midwest. You can reach him at [email protected]