Fifty years ago, America ushered in a new era as it put a man on the moon. The Space Race had already begun years before, but the lunar landing was America’s victory party – proof that the U.S.A. had the technological prowess and the resolve to conquer every frontier.

A few familiar names are usually dropped when the moon landing comes up in conversation – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin… but there were thousands of others who contributed as the countdown to the moon began years before. A handful of those folks live in Lake Havasu City, and we’ve included some of their memories in today’s newspaper. These folks are quiet heroes, never getting the laurels of the Armstrongs and Aldrins but no less important to what is no doubt one of the most important events of the 20th Century.

Interest in exploring the skies dimmed in the decades that followed, as economies faltered and budgets were cut, but technological advancement in recent years has once again placed vast importance on space exploration.

Private entrepreneurs are determined to grow space tourism, and governments talk about building stations on Mars and the moon. President Donald Trump announced the creation of a new military branch, the Space Force, shortly after he took office. None of this would be possible without the early contributions of those first pioneers that put our focus on setting foot on the moon.

There are striking similarities between the world of 1969 and the world of today. Politically, the country was divided between polarized factions, and on the world stage, controversial entanglements like Vietnam added further tumult at home. In many ways, the Turbulent Sixties look a lot like the Turbulent Teens. The big difference, however? The moon landing brought America together. It was a big infrastructure project, not unlike the WPA efforts a generation before, that helped instill national pride during a stormy period of our history. All Americans had a reason to be proud, patriotic and optimistic about our country’s future thanks to those visionaries who were determined to put a man on the moon.

Maybe it’s time for another one.

— Today’s News-Herald

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