July 20, 2018

One Giant Leap — Apollo 11

On this day in 1969: The Apollo 11 moon landing — American Exceptionalism!

In 1961, the Cold War was heating up, and we were gravely concerned that the USSR’s successful launch of Sputnik 1 four years earlier would result in Soviet domination of space — a major national security threat. John F. Kennedy, determined to take the lead, declared in a speech to Congress, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

On July 16, 1969 (years before the age of super-computer modeling and design), NASA launched Apollo 11, manned by Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins, from Kennedy Space Center to the moon — a 238,900 flight, one way. They flew the combined North American Rockwell command module Columbia, and Grumman lunar module Eagle, atop a huge Saturn V Rocket. Armstrong was a Naval aviator and Aldrin and Collins were both Air Force pilots. Aldrin had a PhD from M.I.T. and was integral in development concepts for the mission.

On July 20th, mission commander Armstrong and pilot Aldrin separated the Eagle from Columbia, which remained in orbit 57 miles above the Moon’s surface.

At 20:17 UTC, Armstrong and Aldrin landed the Eagle on the moon. After a perilous descent and nearing exhaustion of their fuel supply, the Eagle touched down. Armstrong announced to the world, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Charles Duke, CAPCOM during the landing operation, acknowledged their landing, saying, “Roger, Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot!” (In 1972, Duke would commanded the Apollo 16 mission, becoming the tenth of 12 astronauts to walk on the moon before NASA discontinued the moon missions.)

On the Moon’s surface, Buzz Aldrin recounted: “A little while after our scheduled meal period, Neil would give the signal to step down the ladder onto the powdery surface of the moon. Now was the moment for communion. So I unstowed the elements in their flight packets. I put them and the Scripture reading on the little table in front of the abort guidance system computer … Then I called back to Houston. ‘Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM Pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to invite each person listening, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way’ … I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.”

Aldrin continued: Just before I partook of the elements, I read the words, which I had chosen to indicate our trust that as man probes into space we are in fact acting in Christ … I sensed especially strongly my unity with our church back home, and with the Church everywhere.I read: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.’“

Six hours after landing, Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface, joined by Aldrin 20 minutes later.

As he stepped from the Eagle’s ladder to the Moon, Armstrong said famously, "That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The two men explored the moon for about two hours and 15 minutes, collecting 21.5 kgs of lunar material and deploying an American flag.

Before departing the Moon, Armstrong broadcast to the world, “To all the other people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.”

After 21 hours and 37 minutes on the lunar surface, they launched the Eagle back into space to reunite with Collins in the command module Columbia. (Take a 3D tour of Columbia’s interior and exterior.) Together they returned to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific on July 24th.

In his memoirs, Charles Duke wrote of his mission: “In 1972 aboard Apollo 16, I saw with my own eyes what is written in the Scriptures. In Isaiah 40:22 it says ‘It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.’ And in Job 26:7, it is written ‘He hangeth the earth upon nothing.’ Who told Isaiah that the earth was a circle? … And how did the writer of Job know that the earth hung upon nothing? … This is the Lord I love and serve. This is the Lord who transformed by life. This is the Lord who transformed my marriage. … I used to say I could live ten thousand years and never have an experience as thrilling as walking on the moon. But the excitement and satisfaction of that walk doesn’t begin to compare with my walk with Jesus, a walk that lasts forever. I thought Apollo 16 would be my crowning glory, but the crown that Jesus gives will not tarnish or fade away. His crown will last throughout all eternity … Not everyone has the opportunity to walk on the moon, but everybody has the opportunity to walk with the Son. It costs billions of dollars to send someone to the moon, but walking with Jesus is free, the Gift of God. ‘For by Grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.’”

Faith was an attribute which some of the Apollo astronauts wrote about boldly.

Today, 49 years after Armstrong stepped on the moon, private-sector space launches are dominating the skies, and after years of planning, the USAF’s Space Command is preparing to transition into a new military branch, U.S. Space Force.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.