Today marks 50 years since we accomplished our greatest and most ambitious feat, taking the first steps on another world to extend the human reach beyond our own planet. Neil Armstrong’s ‘giant leap’ was a breakthrough technological and scientific achievement one only imagined in science fiction.
Apollo 11 represented the best of what we can achieve with hard work, determination, and sacrifice. And I want to thank the members of the Missile, Space, and Range, Pioneers who were part of that auspicious mission and put hammer to nail or pen to paper in the effort to bring humans to the moon.
Many of our members worked hours and hours, dedicating their time and lives to answer President Kennedy’s calling with the belief that anything was possible, including the extraordinary task before them.
On July 20th, 1969, millions of people around the world turned on their radios and television sets to a part of humanity’s greatest adventure. They stood in silence with their loved ones, friends, and coworkers as the words “Eagle Has Landed” was uttered by mission control. No matter where on Earth they were or what language they spoke, all eyes were wide and for a moment, all of humanity shared a common purpose and common destiny.
Neil Armstrong would descend onto the dusty lunar surface, while the world waited in anticipation. His words “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” would echo throughout the generations and become in itself, a new call to action. And for the Pioneers who have joined in the years since Apollo, this is for you. The legacy that Apollo has built stands strong still today, and today’s generation will build a new legacy that will inspire the world yet again.
So I ask that we all join in celebration today. From Pioneer members who worked to support the launch of Apollo 11 to those who helped to construct the fleet of space shuttles and to those who support the commercial industry today, we applaud you. And I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this vibrant, hard-working community.
Celebrate all that you have accomplished. Whether it’s going to one of the Apollo 11 events around the county, drinking some tang with your family, or just looking up at the moon tonight for a moment of reflection, I encourage each and every one of you to celebrate what has been achieved. You were responsible for making it possible.
Don’t let the excitement fade. A new class of Pioneers looks to those who have accomplished so much. Inspire them to push the frontier as you have and help make the Artemis generation possible and let’s be the first to put a woman on the moon.
I am incredibly humbled and grateful to be leading this organization during such a historic time for our members. I appreciate what each of our members have done throughout their lives, that allowed humanity’s spirit of exploration to ascend beyond the bounds of Earth. Thank you.
Missile, Space, and Range Pioneers