10.06.2007

Movie Reaction: In the Shadow of the Moon

It’s been almost forty years since Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and into history. During that time, NASA’s achievements have become the stuff of legends, and, now, they are in danger of being forgotten. Young boys and girls still learn names like Buzz Aldrin and dates like July 21, 1969, but America’s space program has become an old man; a grandfather who is loved and revered but rarely listened to. The documentary In the Shadow of the Moon attempts to bring the stories, achievements, and, most importantly, the lessons of the Apollo space program back into the national discussion. I strongly suggest everybody listen.

Mainly told through a collection of astronaut interviews and original NASA video footage, the message of In the Shadow is simple at its heart but universal in its meaning: through total commitment and sacrifice our nation achieved the impossible and all of mankind was united for one fleeting moment in history.

Astronauts like Mike Collins, Alan Bean, and Gus Grissom sacrificed everything, and in some cases even their lives, to touch the heavens. They did this knowing full well the risks they faced and in return their success was rewarded with a near mythic status. In the Shadow pulls back the protective helmets to reveal just how human these astronauts really were and what their extraordinary achievements actually meant to them.

The astronauts’ words are sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, and almost always touching, but all of them are infused with the wisdom of a lifetime’s worth of reflection and every one of their stories recalls moments of clarity and comprehension. Each man, after experiencing the vastness of space firsthand, came to see Earth as a wellspring of hope and opportunity, a Garden of Eden. If mankind could put somebody on the moon, can’t anything be accomplished with enough commitment and sacrifice?

Times have changed since 1969 but the lessons of the Apollo space program are as relevant today as they were when Neil Armstrong first smudged the moon’s surface. The Space Race was a symbolic competition between nations but its end result crystallized the bonds between all mankind. Once it’s possible to see that the heroes of NASA are as human as anybody else, then it’s possible to see that their unifying achievements are just as reachable today as they were nearly forty years ago.

Maybe I’m being an idealist but that is a message I’ll never tire of hearing.

2 comments:

april said...

"Once it’s possible to see that the heroes of NASA are as human as anybody else, then it’s possible to see that their unifying achievements are just as reachable today as they were nearly forty years ago.

Maybe I’m being an idealist but that is a message I’ll never tire of hearing." Yeah, I don't think thats a message I can ever tire of hearing.

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