Fifty-three years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy boldly proposed that the United States conduct a manned lunar landing before the end of the 1960’s. The President’s clarion call to glory was delivered during a special session of the United States Congress which focused on “urgent national needs”.
The transcript of that historic speech given on Friday, 25 May 1962 indicates that the ninth and last issue addressed by President Kennedy was simply entitled SPACE. The most stirring words of that portion of his speech may well be these:
“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.”
Although he did not live to see the fulfillment of that goal, history shows that 8 years, 1 month, and 26 days later, the United States of America did indeed land a man (men) on the moon and returned him (them) safely to earth before the decade was out.
Thus, as a country, we can say now, even as we said then to our departed leader: Mission Accomplished, Mr. President.