Preserving Our Giant Leap
July 18, 2013

Preserving Our One Giant Leap

Almost all Americans, young and old alike, know the quote (or misquote as it may be) “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” These words symbolize that which we know as the Apollo 11 moon landing. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were first to set foot on the moon. And their lunar gear is still there. That is why two US Representatives want to designate artifacts of the lunar landing equipment from all US moon landings as a National Historical Park, according to CNN. In CNN’s words, “U.S. Reps. Donna Edwards of Maryland and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas have proposed legislation that would designate artifacts at the site of American moon landings as comprising a National Historical Park, citing potential commercial traffic on the moon that could damage the areas.

The interest comes as other foreign governments and private industries are planning their own moon landings and ventures. The singular importance of the moon landing is one of American history, thus designating the equipment as National Historical Park would help to protect the history. Naturally, no nation, government, nor private industry or individual owns the moon, so the National Historical Park would apply to the “artifacts left behind by NASA missions would be included in the park – not the lunar surface itself.”

Obviously, I support National Parks in all their forms. The National Parks Systems has several park designations. A Historical Park “…generally applies to historic parks that extend beyond single properties or buildings. National Memorial: A national memorial is commemorative of a historic person or episode; it need not occupy a site historically connected with its subject..” Several other designations exist, but that is for another blog. What better way to honor the moon landings than to make the artifacts part of a National Historical Park?

As CNN writes, this would also allow for “corporate donations and contributions from foreign governments to maintain the proposed park.” Moreover, private individuals also could donate to help maintain the site by using the National Park Foundation website.

Representatives Edwards and Johnson are both members of the House Committee on Science and Technology. I think this is a great proposition for this committee. Not only does it continue to support space, but it also supports history and even the National Parks System.

Many will argue that at a time when the country still needs help with the economy, bills such as this are superfluous, but I disagree. Yes, the economy is on the forefront of most Americans’ minds, and it should be; but we cannot let the present woes overwhelm the importance of preserving our historical endeavors, especially something as important as the moon landings. Soon, probably sooner than we realize, all sorts of nations and peoples and businesses will be landing on the moon. We should work to preserve our successes. I would support this bill no matter what nation was proposing it. National Historical Parks are important for all people. I hope to hear only good news on this bill.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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