Over 500 million awestruck people watch on television as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take the first steps on the surface of the Moon- our constant heavenly companion that had always been a symbol of the “unreachable”. Pushing the limits of the possible further then ever in human history, this “one small step for man” is indeed “one giant leap for mankind”.
No accomplishment of this scale had ever been attempted and the fact that it was successful superseded the fact that we could actually listen to it happen live from the comfort of our living rooms (an unheralded technological feat in and of itself.)
This mission, establishing dominion over the Moon itself, began a new era and a new age in human endeavor that – fulfilled or not – at least promised to propel us forward toward ever-greater accomplishments.
It served as the crescendo of a tumultuous American decade, and was clearly, in retrospect, the crowning achievement of the American Century.