Paying tribute to a momentous event fifty years ago today

People often reminisce about significant events in their life, usually remembering clearly where they were when they learned about, experienced or observed such events. It is also common that people can report how they felt when they experienced those moments in time. So it will be today and in recent weeks for many people of my age and older who witnessed man’s (or humanity’s) first steps on the moon, via television.

I suspect almost all of us who witnessed that event then, and in contemplation of it now, remain in awe of such a collective feat of human collaboration, courage and determination. For all of us, excluding those two unique astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, it was truly an out-of-this-world experience.

I am also honoured and privileged to have borne witness to this event in my early childhood, in my classroom at school, watching on a small television screen at the front of our class. Even as such a young person, it certainly challenged our imagination, caused us to fantasise and dream, and consider what else could be possible in our lives.

This moon landing is probably the greatest technological achievement I have witnessed in my life-time. Sure, our technology has improved most substantially and in impressive ways since then, yet I cannot conceive of any greater collaborative effort, before or since then. It serves to remind many of us that with authentic collaboration and unity, humanity can achieve a great deal.

Hopefully today and in memory of this historical achievement, we can honour that program by taking pause to consider how we can unify our efforts to progress humanity and life on our fragile planet. Doing so, as we look past the restrictions of state, ethnicity, culture or language, to instead protect what is precious and beautiful on our earth. To avoid the ‘tragedy of the commons’ but instead to share what is in the common good. Just as those lunar travellers reported seeing planet Earth in a new light on their return to its soil, we too can reflect on today’s anniversary and imagine and create a safer and more caring place for all, now and for future generations.

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