The 50th anniversary, the Golden Anniversary, of the first moon landing and the newly released documentary film Apollo 11, are a timely reminder of how Americans can come together no matter how divided the country is politically and culturally.
The Vietnam War, Woodstock, Civil Rights, the pill and sexual revolution — the height of the “Counter Culture” — did not stop Americans, no matter what their political or cultural beliefs were, from coming together as one proud red, white and blue united nation. It was America’s Apollo Unity Moonshot and landing moment.
That Unity Moonshot moment has to be relived in America today if it is to continue to thrive, guide and survive!
I had started law school in Chicago in the fall of 1968, after being there as a photographer, taking pictures of the protests and violent confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention.
Some of my classmates were protestors at the Democratic Convention, and one or more, were police officers who confronted them. The trial of the Chicago Seven unfolded a few blocks from school in the Federal Courthouse.
Vietnam veterans and opponents of the war, pro-and-con Civil Rights activists. We were young 20-something law students, no different than the average age at Mission Control. The average age at Mission Control in 1968-1969 was 26! Juniors could transmit problem solving solutions upwards quickly and easily that were accepted by management. Something the Democratic politicians and delegates at the Democratic Convention failed to then — and are failing to understand again today!
The Republicans are no better!
We were no different than the average age of the new crop of freshmen and women congress people that got elected last year that are challenging and questioning my 60s generation, not only in Washington, but nationally and globally.
Questioning is the American way. That is what America’s Founding Fathers did and they wouldn’t want it any other way. As long as after the honest debates, compromises are reached to unite the Republic and make it what it was until the dawn of the 21st-century and New World Order.
After my first year of law school in Chicago, I headed to San Francisco to finish school there. The music, flower power, Haight-Ashbury, Berkley Free Speech, sounded a lot cooler than the Windy City — notwithstanding the heated — often overheated — ongoing political discussions and debates.
Waiting for a bus to get to school in the freezing blowing snow, as icicles formed on my mustache and sideburns, was a strong motivator that just couldn’t compare to breezy, sunny, mellow Frisco.
The upcoming Apollo 11 Moonshot united all political spectrums into a proud National team of supporters. No different than the support shown America’s World Champion Women Soccer Team today.
There were many who thought the money would be better spent alleviating poverty, but even they were proud to be Americans and united in spirit — and pursuit of the American Dream and Moonshot.
I listened to the moon landing laying on a beach at the Red Sea in Eilat. I was on summer holiday and hitch hiking across Israel. I was surrounded by fellow beach bums listening to our transistor radios, staring at the moon. The cheering uproar when Apollo 11 landed and Neil Armstrong took his memorable First Step was deafening. Americans of all political persuasions, as well as countless other nationalities, of all religions and cultural beliefs. Cheering and dancing in unity.
A few lessons to remember from the NASA team that took the Moonshot and succeeded are the jargon that was part of the jet fuel that fueled their success.
“Failure is not an option;”
“Own mistakes (and admit to them in real time);” and
“Take calculated risks and have moral courage.”
Important benchmarks considering the mobile phones in most of our pockets today are more powerful than all the computers at NASA’s disposal in 1969.
American political unity as a nation, regardless of party, political, cultural and religious beliefs, sexual orientation, race or gender, is today’s Moonshot.
Today’s Moonshot is “Fight to Unite, Not Divide!”
Think, and remember, what America’s Founding Fathers went through and what they would want us to do?