Hultgren: Apollo 11 "Giant Leap for Mankind" Propelled American Space Exploration

Press Release From: U.S. House of Representatives
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Following are Rep. Hultgren’s prepared remarks:

I rise today to remember and celebrate a monumental achievement our nation’s space program reached 46 years ago this week.

On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and the entire NASA team transformed the world’s belief in what was possible.

Following President Kennedy’s charge to land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth before the decade was over, NASA put forth their talent and treasure into making that dream a reality.

No longer was human discovery and exploration limited to our own planet.

The moon—forever beyond our human ability to reach—was now within our grasp.

This “giant leap for mankind” propelled American space exploration and inspired generations to pursue science and research as a way of life.

Today, human space exploration and discovery sciences are engrained in American society and are prime demonstrations of our nation’s exceptional nature.

As Americans, it is in our DNA to push the boundaries and frontiers of knowledge.

Developing new technologies and expertise is vital as we consider a mission to Mars, take close-up photos of Pluto and send robots throughout our solar system.

The new generation must now work to fulfill the dreams and ambitions of that first group of space explorers.

Let’s encourage our children to think seriously about careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Careers that could lead them to become actual rocket scientists or astronauts.

Bold, long-term commitments to the programs and projects that made NASA and our space program great will help inspire our kids.

The Apollo 11 mission changed America and the world, and we remain forever grateful to those who were a part of that mission.

In the sad event the astronauts never made it back to Earth, President Nixon had a speech prepared to deliver to the nation.

If the worst happened, the President would have said: "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."

I was honored to meet members of the Apollo 11 crew, including Neil Armstrong before he died.

Indeed, these men were epic heroes of mine.

Many of us grew up in era where we were proud to be the nation that sent men to the moon—and we still are.

Nothing can change that fateful decade of discovery coupled with frustration, trial coupled with error—all resulting in that historic, world-changing mission.

I want our kids to look back and be proud citizens of the nation that made our moon hospitable, sent astronauts to Mars, and keeps sending spacecraft past the outer reaches of our solar system.

Renewed vigor in our country’s space program will ensure we continue to make mankind-sized leaps for years to come.


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