Fifty-five years ago today, President John F. Kennedy called a special session of the United States Congress to bring before that august body a variety of issues which he referred to as “urgent national needs”.
The transcript of President Kennedy’s speech indicates that the ninth and last issue addressed by the President 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, the record 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.