It's the optimism
DailyKos points to this article on SpaceReview about the 'real' impact of the Apollo 11 program. Kos highlights:
But in my view, the greatest achievement of Apollo is something more important, something that took decades to be recognized, and which is only now coming into focus. As I see it, the greatest achievement of Apollo is the inspiration that Apollo’s bold, quickly-paced, and futuristic accomplishment generated in so many baby boomers, whose hearts were captured by the tsunami of new technologies Apollo generated and the sheer exuberance for invention that space exploration inspired.
That statement of optimism reminded me of my dad's dad. The last time I saw grandpa was in October of 1980. And we had this conversation that really stuck with me. He was born in 1901. Two years before the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. And we were talking 11 years after two men had first walked on the moon. While he had seen two world wars, he'd also seen the creation of automobiles, plane travel, space travel and the end of polio in the US - amazing progress! That helped make the man an incurable optimist.
So, let's raise a glass to NASA and the thousands of people who worked on the Apollo program* and those that led to it, shielded politically by the ghost of martyred president. Let's marvel at the effort needed to go from Mercury to the moon in just over 8 years. And let us be grateful for three men who went to the moon with only a modest expectation that they'd get home. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, a grateful nation salutes you.
*“When reporters asked (Alan) Shepard what he thought about as he sat atop the Redstone rocket, waiting for liftoff, he had replied, 'The fact that every part of this ship was built by the low bidder.'