The Sixty Second Patriot #9

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged America to adopt a national goal of sending people to the Moon and bringing them safely back to Earth.

Over the next eight years, many different parts of the government, and a lot of private companies, and a lot of scientists, worked very hard to make that happen.  Along the way, they invented all sorts of things to help put a man on the Moon, from things that seem ordinary like instant orange juice to transforming computers from things that took up entire floors of office buildings into things that would fit into a person’s pocket.

Also along the way, they learned how to build very large rockets.  At the time, no one could be really sure how the rockets would work, and every time one went up with astronauts in them, they could never be sure that they were going to get back home safely.

But after eight years of research and ten test missions, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed a tiny spacecraft called the Eagle on the Moon on July 16, 1969.  More than one-fifth of the entire people of the world watched on television at the same time as American astronauts became the first people ever to walk on the Moon’s surface, and come home again to tell about it.  They became the first of six American missions safely to the Moon and back.  The moon landing is one of America’s proudest moments.

The Sixty-Second Patriot series of posts is intended to provide teachers who are required to engage in patriotic exercises with truthful, age-appropriate, meaningful, educationally-rich, non-controversial, secular alternatives to rote recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as brief meditations on American history, civics, and values accessible to all people. Suggestions and contributions to this series from Readers are welcome.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Truth be told, JFK didn't even care about space – except to serve political goals. Yet he was concerned about Martin Luther King to have his brother, the Attorney General, wiretap his phones.

  2. I always think of Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon, and Buzz Aldrin as the smarter of the two. After all, he waited to be sure it was safe before getting out of the ship…

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