Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Eagle has Landed

Today is the 40th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, an amazing achievement for all mankind that still captures the imagination. Most people's thoughts will be on Neil Armstrong's historic descent of the ladder and that immortal phrase spoken from the last hesitant rung, "That's one small step for a man...".
But for me there's something about the moon landing that's even greater. To place that one individual at the foot of that ladder took over 400,000 men and women from every trade and discipline, all working together to achieve something that had never been done before and that many considered impossible.
But they did it anyway; from President Kennedy who set the challenge through Gene Kranz the mission controller, the flight surgeons, spacesuit designers, meterologists, communications engineers, rocket fuel chemists, machine shop workers, accountants, administrators, secretaries and the people who made the tea, every one of them contributed something vital to the mission's success. Despite the setbacks and the tragedies - like the launchpad fire that killed the three astronauts testing Apollo 1 - they pressed on and fought through until the dream was fulfilled. Though Armstrong stepped alone onto the moon in reality he was never alone - there were 400,000 others with him and he rode there on the shoulders of giants.
The Apollo programme shows that no matter how crazy the dream, nothing is impossible. If we truly work together to make it happen, becoming part of something greater than ourselves, then there's nothing we cannot do. And if it ever falls to us to stand upon the pinnacle of success, let us honour the labour, vision and sacrifice of those who paved the way before us and made it all possible

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