My mother was bugging me, and I was not too happy about it.
It was Aug. 20, 1969 and we were visiting friends in Casa Grande, Ariz. My parents had moved from Casa Grande, the city of my momentous birth, in 1967 to Yuma, Ariz., where my dad took a job as an elementary school principal.
But we were back visiting, and I was having a great time running around the large house owned by my parent’s friends. The dad was a dentist, so they had all the cool stuff – a pool, juke box, pool table – you name it.
But there was something on the TV that had the adults all engaged, and my mom wanted me to see it. So she corralled my squirming 6-year-old body and made me watch. And I’m glad she did, because what they were watching was man stepping foot on the moon.
Sure, it was hard for my tiny little mind to wrap my head around what I was seeing. These guys are on the moon? The one I look up to at night?
Little mind blown.
I remember the setting that day – the living room, the people, where the TV was. But I don’t remember the actual footage in my mind. When I think of it, the replays I have seen over the years cloud the original memory.
But it was still something, and I can say I actually did see it live on television.
(And if you are one of the conspiracy nuts who says the whole thing was faked, please keep that to yourself down in your basement surrounded by your sci-fi movie posters and action figures).
I thought about that day on the recent 50-year anniversary of this incredible moment in human history – and American history – and felt proud. We did it! We were the first, and so far only, human beings to step foot on the moon. It was a great accomplishment and something that made the country collectively proud.
But reflecting on such a huge event also made me a bit sad. It made me sad for us here, today. All those decades ago we embraced a dream and made it a reality. We believed in the power of science and logic. We worked hard through seemingly impossible problems and made them work.
Now, science is scoffed at by many people in power. And we have no collective dreams, just divisive policies and partisan fights.
It makes me very sad. It makes me think about the 6-year-olds running around these days. Do their parents grab them and make them watch people in Washington constantly attack and belittle each other?
Where are the big dreams for this generation? What is the next big goal that will unite the country? That will make everyone pull together and cheer for a big collective victory?
Instead, it is name calling and lying and yelling and on and on it goes. Left, right, center. We are certainly not a nation right now that is collectively anything – except dysfunctional.
I hope for the sake of the youngest in our nation and world that this too will pass. I hope that we will again unite in a beautiful dream for mankind that we can turn into a reality. I hope the mother of some little boy or girl will hold them in front of the TV or computer screen to see a transformative moment in human history that is full of hope and promise.