One Giant Step for America

November 5th, 2008 | Sources: Commentary

Subjects:

On July 20, 1969, Camp Equinunk watched man land on the moon through an 11-inch black and white TV that was getting a lousy signal from Scranton.

No one cheered. There wasn’t much talk. It was personal experience, shared collectively. It was absurd, overwhelming. Could this be happening?

But Neil Armstrong had prepared for his moment. He must have practiced his line a hundred times before hopping off the LEM.

And yet there it was, unmistakable! An ever-so-slight hesitation after the first word that completely and totally humanized the moment, “That’s…one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” 

So the event happened. We did it! A moment of great pride!

Last night, the TV picture was large, crystal clear and in color, but that didn’t make it easier for the brain to believe what the eyes and ears said must be true.

It took a once-in-a-century economic crisis and a historically inept predecessor. It took a candidate who never got too high or low during a perfectly executed 2-year push. It took an entire generation of young voters and millions of others who voted for the first time and it took a lot more than all of that for Barack Obama to win a national election by 5 percentage points.

Five.

But win it he did. In years to come we’ll see replays of Obama’s confident stride towards 100,000 greeters in Chicago. We’ll hear the speech. We’ll watch him embrace his family, running mate and close friends. We’ll watch the group drift behind the curtains and flags, and we’ll find plenty of humanizing moments.

But right now what I remember is that the Big O didn’t flinch, not once. The smile, the wave, that angular posture of his, it was all so true. Barack Obama stood there as the President elect, and the moment was not too big for him.

It happened. We did it! We really, really did it.


 

Comments

  1. Dana | 7/11/08

    Woo hoo! We did do it.

    BTW, your wife, her sisters, and I all watched the moon landing from a b&w TV at Camp Colang, Lackawaxen PA from that same Scranton TV station. We cheered, though, when Armstrong set foot on the moon.

    nice blog!
    Dana

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