Young generation describes moon landing’s significance
Many Cape Coral residents can remember where they were when they were watching the moon and Neil Armstrong was watching them back.
But the current generation has learned about the moon walk through parents and history lessons. Some think it was just another date in time. Others think of it as a monumental event that deserves to be remembered.
Although she was not present for the original event July 20, 1969, Cape Coral High School senior Tara Higgins said that the first time she can remember learning about the lunar landing was in sixth grade at Trafalgar Middle School.
“We went over the great space race,” she said. “We learned about how the United States was the first country to get there.”
Higgins, 17, thinks the landing affected U.S. international relations.
“Culturally, I don’t think it had a big impact. People thought it was great, but that’s all,” she said. “But from a technology standpoint, all the other countries were beaten. They all wished they had done it first.”
Shanelly Brown, 15, a student at Ida S. Baker High School, can remember learning about the first lunar landing while attending Caloosa Elementary.
“I was probably in third grade,” she said. “I remember thinking that it was so cool that we had done that.”
The awe did not last long for Brown, however.
“Now I think it’s just a man on the moon. It’s not that big of a deal,” she said. “Now, if they’re going to send me to the moon, that’d be awesome.”
Erin Hughes, 22, a Cape native and senior at the University of Florida, can remember being told about the first man on the moon by her grandmother.
“I think it gave Americans hope and a sense of stability in a tense time,” she said.
“It also had an affect on pop culture. I can’t see ‘Star Wars’ happening without the moon landing,” Hughes said. “It inspired people to write, learn and explore. It inspired a lot of national pride.”
Hughes thinks it is important to be educated on the 40-year-old feat.
“It’s really impressive that we were able to do that. It means that we may be able to do even greater things in the future with space travel and exploration. Maybe we can figure out a way to put our trash on Mars,” she said.
Higgins, Brown and Hughes said they would be more impacted by the anniversary if they had been alive in 1969.
“I guess it means that America was stepping it up with our research,” Higgins said. “But for us, it’s just another history event.”
Hughes thinks it should be more than just another memorized date for generations to come.
“Unless you stop and think about how cool it is, it’s easy for it to become just another event in the history books. But it was not an ordinary event,” she said. “I hope the anniversary helps people to not take it for granted that we are able to explore space like we can.”