"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham


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Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..To Boldly Go…..

Unless you have been living under a rock, on a deserted island, or possibly on Pluto, you could not have missed that this past Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. We celebrated by joining 1,200 of our closest space-junkie friends at the sold-out Lucas Theater on Saturday evening. My mouth once again gapped open in awe as we watched the footage of the Saturn V blasting off, the three stages of the rocket separating and drifting away into space, hurtling the command and lunar modules at almost 25,000 miles per hour towards the moon. My heart raced as Neil Armstrong took manual control of the Lunar Module to find a smoother parking spot than the engineers had planned. I could still hear my mother’s voice behind me, admonishing me not to sit so close to the television holding my breath with the estimated 600 million people around the world as Armstrong took that first step and uttered the words that are forever immortalized in history. I remember crying that night, a six-year-old overwhelmed at the enormity of what I was watching. At 56 years of age, my eyes teared once again at the Lucas as we relived those memories on the big screen. Today’s M5T ruminates on the magnitude and audacity of the lunar landing, with the words of those far more capable than I to describe a bold voyage where no man had gone before.

1. The Vision and the Choice

“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.” President Kennedy’s speech to Congress: “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.” Kennedy’s address to the nation at Rice University Stadium.

2. Bella Luna

“It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the moon,” Galileo. “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible tis to venture a little way past them into the impossible,” Arthur C. Clarke. "10, 9, ignition sequence start, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, zero. All engines running. Liftoff! We have a liftoff! Thirty-two minutes past the hour. Liftoff on Apollo 11!'" Jack King, NASA Chief of Public Information. “The moon is an interesting place to be. I recommend it,” Neil Armstrong. “Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation,” Buzz Aldrin.

3. Transcendence and Steps

“Well, man's dream and a nation's pledge have now been fulfilled. The lunar age has begun. And with it, mankind's march outward into that endless sky from this small planet circling an insignificant star in a minor solar system on the fringe of a seemingly infinite universe. The path ahead will be long; it's going to be arduous; it's going to be pretty doggone costly. We may hope, but we should not believe, in the excitement of today, that the next trip or the ones to follow are going to be particularly easy. But we have begun with 'a small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind,' in Armstrong's unforgettable words,” Walter Cronkite, signing off after Apollo 11 splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.

4. The Pride of a Nation and the Dreams of the World

“For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this earth are truly one,” President Nixon. “I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of, let's say 100,000 miles, their outlook would be fundamentally changed. The all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument suddenly silenced,” Michael Collins.

5. Isolation, Success, and Peace

“I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side,” Collins as he orbited the moon alone waiting for Armstrong and Aldrin to return from the moon. “Tranquility base here, the Eagle has landed,” Neil Armstrong on landing on the moon. “The Eagle has wings,” Armstrong as the lunar module took off from the lunar surface. “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind,” The marker left on the moon by Apollo 11.

Take a look up at the sky tonight and take a moment to think about where we have come in the last half-century and where we can go in the next fifty years. Here’s to a week of making audacious dreams, working toward those dreams, and making those dreams a reality.

© 2019 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com. Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com