A Man on the Moon - 50 years later

Less than 3 minute read

July 20, 2019

Today seems like a perfect time to remind the world of what humans can achieve if they just stop calling each other names and killing each other. Not only because that message is so sorely needed now, but because today is the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s vision of a man on the moon becoming a reality.  It’s a day to celebrate an astonishing landmark achievement for mankind, for science and (pardon my political incorrectness) for the United States of America.  It’s also a day to honor three of the greatest Huck’s Heroes in history: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. 

While other kids in the '60s had heroes in sports, TV or movies, my heroes were the astronauts.  I knew all the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts by name and watched every launch.  But Apollo 11 was different.  Those of us who saw it live were blessed to witness something that had never been seen before in the entire history of the world.

On July 20th, 1969, my family in Hope, Arkansas were united with billions of people worldwide as we sat riveted to the flickering, ghostly images on our black and white TV. CBS News icon Walter Cronkite explained this miracle of science, as the Apollo 11 landing module, the Eagle, touched down on the moon. 

And then, the whole world held its breath and watched in silent wonder as Neil Armstrong emerged from the capsule and took the first step off that ladder, the immortal “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” He was soon joined by Buzz Aldrin as they became the first humans ever to stand on ground that was not of this Earth. 

After 2-1/2 hours on the lunar surface, Armstrong and Aldrin blasted off, rejoined Collins, who was orbiting alone in the command module, and they returned home safe and sound, which itself was as much of a miracle as the successful moon landing.  They did it in a spacecraft that to modern eyes looks impossibly small and fragile, with far less computing power than an iPhone has today (although without the pioneers at NASA, there wouldn't be iPhones today.)  But it’s still more awe-inspiring than any modern CGI-filled space adventure movie. 

The astronauts left behind a bag containing a gold replica of an olive branch, a disc with goodwill messages from the leaders of 73 nations, and a plaque that reads, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969 A.D.  We came in peace for all mankind.”  It was the best message mankind had to offer.  And it was delivered by the three best men mankind had to offer. 

There were critics of the space program then and now, but I believe it’s one of America’s great legacies, and slashing its budget was incredibly shortsighted.  If you’ve ever had laser surgery, GPS, a cell phone, a PC, satellite TV, steel-belted radials, a dust buster or any one of a million high tech innovations, then thank the space program.  Maybe cures for Alzheimer’s or heart disease will be next. Our astronauts are true heroes, and every day we live better lives because of them. 

Still, we should support space exploration not just for the benefits, but because exploring is a God-given drive.  It's in our natures always to be striving to press onward and upward. We should cultivate that impulse, not curtail it. 



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Comments 1-25 of 32

  • Michael R Brannick

    08/01/2019 12:18 AM

    My father was stationed at Patrick AFB from 1962-1964, during the Mercury launches. Two missions launched during that time. Just before each my school had a fire drill to get the students out where we could watch them. What a thrill yjay was.

  • Stephen K Lentz

    07/22/2019 10:52 AM

    We were on patrol at that time and didn't even know America had landed on the moon until we got back By then the astronauts were already back on earth!! AND we had other things on our mind at that time. Robert Victor Moore USN HM3 KIA 18 July 1969

  • Gayle D'Addario

    07/21/2019 06:12 PM

    As always brother Huckabee you give us a Godly real perspective. I was 15 when I saw this event happening right before our eyes. Amazingly, our astraunauts are profoundly affected when they return. They set science aside and commented on how in awe they were of the smallness of earth and experienced the greatness of God.

  • Ruth Ferraro

    07/21/2019 05:43 PM

    That day brings back bitter-sweet memories. Yesterday would have been our 51st anniversary. We sat with friends on our first wedding anniversary & watched in astonishment men walking on the moon. Unfortunately my husband passed 4/26/18 - just short of our golden anniversary. Thank you for sharing! Love all your commentaries.

  • rodney burke

    07/21/2019 03:37 PM

    The NYslimes, run by obvious idiots, have zero concept of what we had in 1969 in that capsule compared to what we have now. The are obvious too stupid to look back and see how many WOMEN, one black made the mission possible. They are so stupid they can't grasp who took part and what was accomplished in 9 years that no other country has done. And if we have a secret space force as some say, then that makes it even more successful. I don't know why anyone who is sane pays any attention to the NYslimes. It is pathetic in how out of touch it truly demonstrates itself to be. From JFK's speech until launch if was a forward progression of science and aeronautical achievement unparalleled in human history. Yes, Mike I sat there with friends from church and a wife watching that historical moment. Amazed that so much was accomplished in such a short time. Too bad JFK didn't live to see his dream come to reality. But that is another discussion.

  • Peggy ilharreguy

    07/21/2019 03:14 PM

    Great article. I remember friends and family sitting around the TV waiting for that landing. My cuz was married to one of the men responsible for getting that space craft up there, which made it all the more exciting. They also put the American flag there!

  • William Schlumpf

    07/21/2019 03:01 PM

    They were my heroes then and still are. And yes I too knew them all by name including those who did not make it. Grissom, White and Chaffee as well as those who blazed the trail in the Gemini program. I was born while John Glenn was orbiting Earth. God has indeed blessed this great nation.

  • Jerry

    07/21/2019 09:12 AM

    What a leap for mankind I didn’t get the chance to watch it I was with army and were I was at we didn’t have tv it is amazing people did not think much of the feat I watch a congressman beller and howl like an escaped man from jarassic park at a border patrol leader the other day Cummings is a prime example that you can throw money at education and get zero results he has been in Congress for a long time getting good money and the taxpayer got a negative return just a waste of time and resources Cummings is just one of many of imbeciles that ripped off the American system disgraceful

  • Elaine humphrey

    07/21/2019 08:38 AM

    It was an amazing time. JFK had great vision. Too bad others that followed did not. Great article.

  • Paul Feinberg

    07/21/2019 07:03 AM

    I loved the points brought up by the perceptive governor! This is the way I have always seen NASA myself. Their mission seems to resonate well for our nation world! May dear God Bless and keep you and yours Governor Huckabee.

  • Carl Smith

    07/20/2019 11:47 PM

    My First trip thru Hope Ark was in the summer of 1948 squeezed between Dad's two sisters on our way to Hartford Ark to visit Grandpa on tires that dad said were 'May Pops'. I can still see in my minds eye the Post Office that looked like a Two Holer. The Space program was also very much a part of my life and the Launch of the Nuclear Powered Nautilus prompted me to AVOID the Draft and JOIN the Nuclear Navy. I think part of America's political problem is WE the People have abandoned history and teaching what was Just Part of Growing up in my era. Patriotism is a word that is thrown around like a soccer ball but for guys like me it's a Religion. I have travelled and Worked over most of the world, especially in the Muslim World and I have no idea how to get the point across that " America has it warts and we have managed to work our way out of most of our short comings : BUT this is still the GREATEST Experiment in Self Governance ever conceived by Man". The Greatest Words ever penned are contained in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. When a President avoids the 'and are endowed by their Creator' part they as showing taking the OATH to protect and Defend the Constitution is just a sham for a Photo Op.

  • Elizabeth Matthews

    07/20/2019 11:13 PM

    When we see the whole program now we know how the Lord was honored. I didn't hear it before!

  • Lloyd McKain

    07/20/2019 10:11 PM

    Well said, Governor. It was truly a miraculous event in our history. What we need now more than ever is a few miracles from GOD. HE needs to show the world the way to peace.

  • Ray Quigley

    07/20/2019 06:50 PM

    Comment by Ray Quigley - This event has particular memory significance to me that I will share.
    I was a pilot for United Airlines for 30+ yrs.. The evening of the landing we were flying from Los Angeles to Hawaii. The timing of the action was beyond imagining.
    Our flight was cleared for takeoff just as the Moon Landing was executing the final stages of their landing.
    And just as the words were spoken - “The Eagle has landed” - our wheels left the runway.
    That coincidence has been a special place in my memory. The event and what it meant should definitely be celebrated - they are truly significant.

  • Wanda Chaney

    07/20/2019 06:41 PM

    This is a memory my husband and I share, though we were 1,300 miles apart and had never met. His family watched it all on a color TV and his dad took a Polaroid picture of it. My family watched it on a black and white and, seeing as how the moon doesn't have much color, was just fine. It was such an amazing day!

  • Janice Butler

    07/20/2019 06:23 PM

    I remember this so clearly. As a 23rd birthday gift my parents sponsored a 2-week trip, just me & Mom, to KY & TN to visit all of my family. At the time of the moon landing we were with my Mom's brother & his family. We all gathered around the TV & watched this magnificent adventure unfold. I watched the PBS presentation this past week & was transported back to that special time shared with those family members who are all in Heaven now. I remembered my excitement as clearly as if it were July 20, 1969.

  • Ellie Early

    07/20/2019 06:21 PM

    Thx once again for an enlightening message about the moon adventure. Myself & family were living in England at that time, & I was so proud of our achievement I couldn’t do anything but cry with joy & thank God for this double blessing for the landing & the safety of our brave men. All my neighbors came running to our house yelling congratulations & celebrating with us! I’m so proud of our Country & feel so blessed we have great man in office that is strong & willing to be able to cast off all this wickedness that the demons are flinging his way.

  • Gerald Garrison

    07/20/2019 06:01 PM

    Once again, you are right on point, Govenor. I applaude you.

  • Gil Bellamy

    07/20/2019 05:59 PM

    PONTIAC MOON is the name of a movie that is also a documentary about Apollo 11 and the first man on the moon. It was produced by Paramount to acknowledge the 25th Anniversary of Apollo 11. There is a large amount of actual NASA video footage of Apollo 11. The background story was of the Bellamy family classic car collection including a Pontiac Chief convertible and an Amphicar. An Amphicar is a combination boat/car. Ted Danson who stars as Bellamy explains the Amphicar at the beginning of the movie and drives with his family off road into water toward the sunset at the end of the movie. Watching this movie is a good way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Shot.

  • Lee Swann

    07/20/2019 04:14 PM

    Thank you, Mike for a voice of reasonableness!
    Love the "HUCKABEE" show on Saturday nights!
    Blessings to you & your family especially, Sarah!

  • Gretchen Grant

    07/20/2019 04:11 PM

    There are some events in life we will always remember. I grew up in a family who marveled when John Glenn went up and remember John F. Kennedy's speech about a man walking on the moon. The reality left us awestruck watching the moon landing on TV. My younger brother was a part of that historical moment serving on the ship, the USS Hornet, that picked up the astronauts after their splash down. The sailors purchased every souvenir available before the press arrived. My brother made sure everyone in the family got something. I still have mine. Shame on you Barry Hussein for ending the program. And Thank You President Trump for bringing back the space program.

  • Bethany Harlan

    07/20/2019 04:05 PM

    YES!!! I agree wholeheartedly with you on the space program being continued.
    As a 14 year old in 1969 I too sat riveted to the TV with my family. In school I wrote many reports on the space program which I collected newspaper clippings and did research for. I saw the John Glenn launch while in kindergarten and was hooked on outer space travel! Just some nostalgic memories I have. Thanks for sharing and for your writing every day to keep us updated on the truth of happenings and people in the world today.
    PS I am an OBU Alumni too!

  • Joan Moore

    07/20/2019 04:04 PM

    It was an especially great day for me, my 17th birthday! (That tells you how old I am today!) I have always been proud that man first walked on the moon on my birthday.

  • Susan Roberts

    07/20/2019 03:02 PM

    Today, July 20th, is my birthday. I was also up and watching the lunar landing on tv that night at the age of 18. Afterward I walked out on the porch and looked up at the moon - still in awe to think we actually had men up there who walked on that moon!!
    What an incredible feat!
    Remembering with you,
    Susan R.

  • Beatrice Cribb

    07/20/2019 02:30 PM

    What an amazing event. I was not in the US that day, but in Gaeta, Italy with my family celebrating my brother's birthday. On a rooftop we all looked up a the moon in awe. What a wonderful day that we remember so we'll. God bless America