About a month or so ago, a letter to The Reporter discussed why Columbus Day should continue to be observed as a holiday. Albert Cupo, the author of that letter, made many valid points to support his position. I would like an opportunity to augment those points by illustrating the similarities between the Apollo 11 mission and Columbus’s voyages to the Western Hemisphere.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the lunar surface. Neil Armstrong’s “moon walk” triggered a passion for exploration, learning, and discovery. Without doubt, Apollo 11 ushered in a global era focused on science and technology. The fruits of that era continue to benefit humanity to this day.
Like the Apollo 11 mission, Columbus’s voyages to the “New World” heralded a period of exploration and discovery. His documented voyages generated a keen interest – a strong desire – to boldly go where no one from the Eastern Hemisphere has gone before. Because of Columbus and his voyages, other explorers came to the “New World.” Ultimately, Columbus’s voyages benefited mankind. To many, Columbus symbolized the immigrant coming to a new land with nothing more than a desire to better his life, and the lives of his posterity.
The “voyages” of Columbus and Apollo 11 brought hope to humanity – a hope for a brighter future with unlimited potentials and possibilities. One can argue that the spirit of Columbus was with Neil Armstrong when he took one small step for a man, but a giant leap for mankind. Thinking about it, I am sure that is the way Columbus felt when he first set foot on the beach in Hispaniola.
John Di Genio