The American astronauts of Apollo 8 gave all Humanity a new Vision of the Earth, of Humanity, and of God (see my blog titled “Apollo 8’s Vision of the Good Earth).
The American astronauts of Apollo 11 gave all Humanity a new Vision of the Future!
When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, it left behind a plaque that read:
We came in peace for all mankind.
When Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon, a television camera beamed the moment back to hundreds of millions of people on Earth. We heard Neil Armstrong say, “That was one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
At that moment, the Earth became far more than a fragile, blue and white oasis, hanging alone in the Darkness. The Earth became a lively, colorful cradle for a civilization whose spreading Light may reach the stars, lighting the heavens themselves.
After Buzz Aldrin joined Neil Armstrong, they raised the Star Spangled Banner and planted it on the surface of the Moon. This was the most sacred, stirring moment of Apollo 11.
A quarter century earlier, the United States Marines raised the Star Spangled Banner in war. The famous picture and statue capture this courageous victory in the cause of freedom—not just for Americans—but for all Humanity.
Early in World War II, President Roosevelt shared his vision of a Future that would be worth the immense sacrifices that Americans were making. His Vision of America inspired Americans to sacrifice our treasures, our loved ones, and our own lives in the cause of freedom—not just for Americans—but for all Humanity.
When President Roosevelt set forth his Vision for the future of America—and for the future of all Humanity—he said:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—anywhere in the world.
During World War II, the Star Spangled Banner became the revered symbol of these freedoms throughout the world—wherever it was carried into battle and raised in victory. The most memorable such moment was the raising of the Star Spangled Banner atop Mount Iwo Jima by the courageous, victorious United States marines.
By 1969, American astronauts were raising the Star Spangled Banner on the Moon. The flag had more stars. Courageous Americans came in peace, not in war.
Yet the Star Spangled Banner still stood for the cause of freedom—not just for Americans—but for all Humanity. Freedom of speech and expression. Freedom of worship. Freedom from want. Freedom from fear.
President Nixon called the astronauts from the Oval Office in the White House to share his awe that: “For one priceless moment, in the history of man, all the people on this earth are truly one.”
Armstrong replied that it was a great honor and privilege to be on the Moon, “representing not only the United States but men of peace of all nations . . . men with a vision for the future.”
In this Vision of Apollo 11 for the Future, Americans do not raise the Star Spangled Banner after killing people in battle—as the Marines did in World War II.
In this Vision of Apollo 11 for the Future, Americans raise the Star Spangled Banner as we make giant leaps to reach New Frontiers, coming in peace for all Humanity.
In this Vision of Apollo 11 for the Future, Americans raise the Star Spangled Banner as we set Humanity free from Humanity’s ancient foes: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
This blog is based on pages 116-117 and 138-139 of my book, Visions of America (published in one volume with Visions of the Church). The notes related to this blog are in my book, Visions of America (published in one volume with Visions of the Church).
The blog titled “Apollo 8’s Vision of the Good Earth” was posted in the category Visions of America.