In 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged America to put a man on the moon within the decade, and return him safely to Earth. I was 6 when he vocalized his vision, and 14 when the dream came true. In barely 8 years, what initially seemed impossible had not only happened, but had transfixed the world with wonder and awe.
President Kennedy’s vision arose for many reasons. It was a grand undertaking of exploration, probing uncharted territory. It was a response to advances in space travel made by Russia that threatened the U.S. with military inferiority. Creating the technology it would require would undoubtedly fuel a burst of innovation that would move American culture ahead faster than if it was left to develop on its own. But most importantly, President Kennedy understood that by setting a goal that required Americans to reach beyond their comfort zone, to go outside the box of traditional patterns, to stretch for an ‘impossible’ goal, he would lead them into a new paradigm, a new Golden Age.