Chairwoman Johnson on the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing
(Washington, DC) – Today marks 50 years since humankind first walked upon the surface of the moon.
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement.
“In the morning of July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin lifted off from NASA’s Cape Kennedy. That day, millions watched in awe as NASA launched Apollo 11’s Saturn V rocket and began the long journey to accomplish the goal set by President Kennedy less than 10 years earlier, to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade.
“As President Kennedy said in his speech at Rice University in September 1962, 'we choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.' There is no better explanation that captures the American spirit. We choose to take giant leaps, we choose to know the unknown, we choose to lead into the future.
“On July 20, 1960, just 4 days after launch, the world listened and watched as the first steps were taken on the Moon. Again, hundreds of millions of people across the world watched as history was made.
“Five times more NASA astronauts landed on the Moon and returned home safely. President Kennedy’s promise that our great democracy could achieve these hard things became a reality.
“As we watched those days in July, 50 years ago, dreams began to form. Every person watching the success of the Apollo Program, young and old, no matter their background, was filled with inspiration. Some youngsters could say to themselves 'I will be an astronaut.' Or, 'I will be a scientist.' As they looked up to the Moon they pictured themselves up there amongst those American heroes, an unimaginable distance away.
“This impact has its greatest effect on our young people. We must always remember that inspiration when we set out to accomplish our greatest goals. The world’s rising generations are watching, always, setting their eyes on the sky and the stars. Young girls and boys, from all backgrounds thrive off the visions we have now and imagine themselves becoming a part of it when they can. We must meet this great responsibility to the following generations by providing the opportunities for them to do great things with the challenges we face today.
“As my predecessor, Chairman of the then-Committee on Science and Astronautics, Congressman George P. Miller said after the Apollo 11 crew splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean, 'those of us who are privileged to be alive today will pass this on to our children and our grandchildren, and they in turn will brag about the fact that we were here. The flight of Apollo 11 is perhaps the greatest secular achievement that the world has ever seen.'
“This achievement was made possible by the unified effort of nearly a half-million men and women, scientists and engineers, technicians and craftsmen, and the support of the American people and their government. The United States’ discovery and exploration enterprise is unmatched. Just as we once set our sights to be the first to land on the Moon, let us bring that same sense of commitment to meeting the other challenges facing our nation.”
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