30 Responses to “40 Years Ago Today Man First Walked on the Moon”

  1. 1


    Thanks Mike. It’s amazing how after millions of years of looking up at the moon in wonder, it’s only within my lifetime that he’s been able to go there. Great post.

  2. 2


    July 17, 2009: NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions’ lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon’s surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules’ locations evident.

  3. 3


    Again, he did not say “one small step for a man…….” he said “one small step for man”. The feminists having been screaming about this for years so everyone has to be politically correct and change what he actually said. Even Armstrong, defered to the feministists saying he meant to say “for a man”, but he didn’t say so let’s get right.

  4. @Glen:

    On the tape, no “a” is audible. But at Commander Armstrong’s request I have added the “a” in parentheses.

    @Neo: Don’t you know those LRO photos were faked to keep up the fiction that we landed on the moon?

  5. 6


    On July 20, 1969, I had just graduated from high school. I understood “a small step for man” meant a small step for all mankind –male and female. It seems to me that we were a lot more “inclusive” and united as a people before the advent of “inclusive language.”

  6. 7



    I was but 2 years old at the time, but growing up I took the meaning to be exactly as you did. However, as I began to intensively study language, writing, and rhetoric, I realized the grammatical redundancy in the statement if he were indeed referring to “mankind” in both parts of the phrase. The inclusion of the “a” makes it much more powerful: “One small step for [a] man (himself, taking his first step upon the moon) one giant leap for mankind (all of us, man and woman and all of the possibilities this accomplishment would open up for all of us!)”

    I do agree, though, that many times “politically correct” language, does more to alienate than what it intends. In this case, it completley diverts the impact of what what said done that day 40 years ago.

  7. 8



    And who helped you “understand” the “small step for man, giant step for mankind” statement that way, Toothfairy. Is that the way it was implied by your school instructors?

  8. 9


    Clearly Armstrong meant ‘a’ man but I think the way he said it was more snappier whether it was a fluffed line or not. People know what he meant. You can’t rewind time and stick an ‘a’ into a quote where an ‘a’ didn’t exist. I’m not sure what the big deal is – except maybe to feminists and anal-retentive grammar nazis’.

  9. @Cary: Thanks for bringing that up. It’s an important issue to discuss.

    The History Channel has been running some of the 1969 coverage of that historic day. It was inspiring to millions around the globe. Can we say the same about the Space Station? Not really.

    The more mundane work NASA has been doing in the last decade may be necessary to help us in our future exploration of space but I would like to see the timetable for that future pushed forward.

    Good grief! We shot off Apollo rockets one after the other in the late 1960’s and went to the moon six times. Then NOTHING!

    We should go back to the moon and we should also begin work on going to Mars. It shouldn’t take three decades to achieve these goals.

    If Obama can spend nearly a trillion dollars paying off his cronies with “stimulus” tax dollars we can spend some money on something that would lift ALL mankind to a higher plane.

  10. 12


    Cary, The English/speech major part of me admires and agrees with your analysis. The poet in me just wishes we could all enjoy the beauty and history of the moment.

    Mata, I have always felt/understood myself to be a part of the greater family of man. For example, when I attended the opera in the Roman coliseum in Verona, I couldn’t help but imagine all those who had occupied that seat before me in times past. When I visited Saint Anthony’s Basilica in Padova and walked around his tomb, I couldn’t help but feel a connection to all those who had prayed for his help. I have a right to my own opinions and feelings. If you have a problem with “instructors” or others who may have made you feel marginalized, take it up with them.

  11. 13



    My my, touchy wench, aren’t we, Tooth. Reading a bit more into the question based on personal judgment?

    It was a simple question…. sans any negative or positive connotation… asking if the instructors implied inclusiveness was more readily given then (in those times) than before, as you say, “inclusive” language became all the rage. You see, I always thought it was rather a repetitive phrase myself.

    Considering you were graduated 16 years after the landing on the moon, I thought it was rather astute that (the instructors?) would analyze the “more inclusive” attitudes compared to modern times. It was an interesting tact. That’s why I asked. see correction next post… Cary’s ensuing “me too!” post after your two liner blended into one in my thread reading

    So you see, I didn’t have teachers that “marginalized” me, nor have some unknown hair up my tail about you. Fact is, I was already graduated from my high school by then (unlike you, who graduates… I think you’ll get my meaning, Ms. English/speech major). Thus I wasn’t in a class, dissecting the phrase. Was too busy being in real time awe.

  12. 16



    Tooth: I have a right to my own opinions and feelings. If you have a problem with “instructors” or others who may have made you feel marginalized, take it up with them.

    I ask a question, you blow out the above. Taunts? Yes maam, you did. Nor have I ever been in any way rude to you as you were above. If you will note, our last conversation on the Alinsky IV thread bears no resemblence to your snippy attitude in response to a simple question with no attitude.

    So I’d suggest you just keep clear of me in future conversations, and I assure you.. I shall not waste another noun or verb on you.

  13. 18


    Good grief! We shot off Apollo rockets one after the other in the late 1960’s and went to the moon six times. Then NOTHING!

    We should go back to the moon and we should also begin work on going to Mars. It shouldn’t take three decades to achieve these goals.

    Wow – we agree:)

    Watching tv in the late 70s and 80s I hoped we have a moon-base by now at least…I blame Space 1999

  14. 19


    Mata, a suggestion is not a taunt. In the past I have found it to be very helpful to sit down with a professor — or anyone else with whom there seems to be some misunderstanding — to clear the air and reach some sort of consensus or agreement. The result has always been a better relationship with and understanding of that person.

  15. 20



    LOL, Cary…. well that depends. Did you have an instructor who took a really dumb arse statement and turn it into an interesting philosphy lesson in school? That’s what I’d call creativity. Frankly, it’s never made sense to me. But ya know, the guy was a Navy flyer, an engineer and an astronaut… not a prolific writer. Never much dwelled on it as anythng but an oops (which he confirmed years later when talking about how he agonized over what to say, then blew it), let alone a philosophy lesson.

  16. 21



    Actually, I had a teacher show us The Who’s Tommy and have us dissect it’s meaning. Til this day, I don’t know the educational value in having done that, or that Tommy is that particularly profound (great music, though!). Planet of the Apes might have been a better choice, I don’t know! LOL

    I agree with you that given all of Armstrong’s accomplishments, creative writing or even public speaking is not on that list, so it’s a bit silly to hold him to such strict grammatical standards. However, I do find the phrase to be inspired, poetic, and powerful. Though I’ve never actually sat and wrote an “analysis” of it before this thread, and was just doing so in response to Toothfairy’s comment. (not sure where you’re getting the “philosophy lesson” bit from, but I agree that too much is made of it.)

    Like I said, if a single one letter word was the only thing he blew on that entire mission, I think it’s rather ridiculous for anyone to be up in arms about it!

  17. @Cary: I’m not going to get hung up on a single letter either.

    And as you say, there were other concerns on that mission.

    Watching the History Channel the last few days I learned that the switch to enable the start up of the rocket to get them off the moon broke on it’s circuit board in the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). If they had not been able to get the circuit to work by jamming a pen in the hole, they might never have lifted off.

    It was a miracle that we got six crews to the moon and back without any loss of life. Apollo 13 showed just how dangerous these missions were.

    That might be part of the reason we haven’t gone back.

  18. 23


    @Mike’s America:

    That and the shuttle Challenger, which I think pushed back civilian space travel consderably, no matter what happens in the future. An unfortunate tragedy which goes beyond the loss of those lives.

    I’ve heard it argued that since there is “nothing” in Space, we are wasting our efforts and money by investing in the Space Program. Yet, what I find most compelling in the article I cited above, is that, as the Apollo 11 Astronauts point out, we recieved 30 times our investment back. I can’t think of anything that we’re doing that does that today, nor even which stimulates the Nation’s morale nearly as much.

    A list of much of the return on the Space Program investment can be found here:


  19. 25


    @Aye Chihuahua:

    Thanks, Aye. So in the entire history of the Space Program, there have been two disasters and one near disaster, resulting in 14 deaths. That’s less than the amount of casualties endured while building the Brooklyn Bridge.

    As an aside, I got a chuckle when I read on the NASA website I linked in #23, that they use the term “humankind”! LOL

  20. 26



    Great Space Program link! Too many have no idea how much we have benefited from NASA research and development.

  21. 28


    @Aye Chihuahua:

    Very good point, Aye. Especially since it was only two years later that we were on the moon. This further strengthens my point that the tragic casualties endured are not enough to justify a u-turn of the program, considering the benefits.

  22. 29

    Aye Chihuahua



    I posted this on the other thread.

    I found it interesting.

    Fortunately, Nixon never had to give this speech:

    An Undelivered Nixon Speech

    On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. The following speech, revealed in 1999, was prepared by Nixon’s then speechwriter, William Safire, to be used in the event of a disaster that would maroon the astronauts on the moon:

    Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
    These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

    These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

    They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

    In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

    In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

    Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

    For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind. (Source: Watergate.info)