Fifty-eight years ago today, President John F. Kennedy boldly proposed that the United States achieve 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 what he called “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 and memorable words of that portion of the 35th President’s long ago address to the nation 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 monumental goal, history records that 8 years, 1 month, and 26 days later, the United States of America indeed landed men on the moon and returned them safely to the earth before the decade of the 1960’s was concluded. Indeed, this feat was accomplished twice before decade’s end; Apollo 11 (July 1969) and Apollo 12 (November 1969).