“I think (the Moon Landing) was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement and that’s how we chose to view it” says everyone who isn’t an American.
Landing men on the moon was an American achievement, an iconic act that is now part of our DNA. My memory as an 11-year-old boy intently watching the fuzzy black and white image on that summer day and my family cheering on hearing the words “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” is as clear now as the moment it was formed.
It was American pride that filled my young heart that day along with the sense that as an American, anything was possible. My parents and siblings were naturalized Americans having legally immigrated. After making his application to become an American, my father had eagerly taken the oath of citizenship on the very day the 5 year waiting period ended. I was an American from the start, born in America on the 4th of July.
My father, who dropped out of high school so he could work to provide for his family, was the personification of the American Dream, starting his own business specializing in making critical aerospace components that others could not. ‘We do the impossible’ was a Regan family motto.
Just a few months prior I had gone to work with my father on a Saturday morning. My mother had packed sandwiches in a brown paper bag that I held as we drove to “The Plant”. On arriving, my father took me over to a huge tank of steaming, bubbling green liquid. Over many prior hours nickel metal ions had been depositing onto a mandrel and slowly building to a thickness of a sheet of paper. My father had perfected this process of “Electroforming” and was now using it to help make history by building the heatshield for the antenna on the Lunar Excursion Module that would transmit Neil’s iconic words.
Together we removed the lunchbox sized mandrel from the plating solution and then dunked it into the rinse tank. I then used a compressed air gun to dry the part which we then took into the measurement lab. My father carefully inspected the part and then turned to me and said “This is going to the moon and you helped me make it.” It would be years before I appreciated the magnitude of what just happened or the impact it would have on my life.
Neil Armstrong was the quintessential American hero who exhibited ultimate competency under the most extreme situation. A humble man, who loved America and must have been filled with immeasurable pride as he saluted our American flag on the moon. His story very much needs to be told so that it can inspire and guide future generations towards the American Dream, but it needs to be told honestly and accurately.
Landing on the moon is the achievement of arriving but planting the flag is the first deliberate act of free will that demonstrates the consummation of the goal. Without this element the story is untold.
“America” isn’t a place, it’s an idea. The idea that everyone has potential and that even an American born on foreign soil can work hard and become part of one of mankind’s greatest achievements. To say that the moon landing was a human achievement without saying it was an American achievement is dishonest because it denies the truth that American Exceptionalism, the idea, is the real reason for our success.
The moon landing is deeply personal to me. The American pride and confidence that filled my young heart impelled me work hard and be successful in a life of doing the impossible. The fact that a bunch of “participation trophy” Hollywood elites want to reinterpret historical facts fills me with disgust. I will not have my heritage, or that of my father’s, or that of Neil or Buzz, or that of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who worked directly on Apollo, or the millions of proud Americans on that day, spat on by story tellers groveling for the acceptance of their peers. Bowing to the politically correct totalitarians is not the act of free people.
It saddens me that Neil Armstrong’s amazing and inspirational story is tainted in this way, but my resolve is firm. No flag is a no-go for me. #NoFlagNoGo
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Brent Regan is a North Idaho resident.