For Panjalat “Noon” Pungpin
May we leave an Earth for you, my granddaughter, that you
are able to enjoy as much as we have.
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.