50 years ago this Wednesday, on May 25th, 1961, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to win the space race, thus fulfilling one of humanity’s dearest dreams:
I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.
Conceived half a century ago, during the Eisenhower Administration, and conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Apollo program responded to the surprise Soviet Sputnik 1 orbital satellite.
America’s scientific ambitions, human achievements, and exploratory adventures have been unparalleled ever since. Noteworthy, Kennedy’s moonshot was announced during a speech to Congress that included his articulation of the Freedom Doctrine.
Our strength as well as our convictions have imposed upon this nation the role of leader in freedom’s cause.
No role in history could be more difficult or more important. We stand for freedom.
That is our conviction for ourselves–that is our only commitment to others. No friend, no neutral and no adversary should think otherwise.
We are not against any man — or any nation–or any system — except as it is hostile to freedom.
Nor am I here to present a new military doctrine, bearing any one name or aimed at any one area. I am here to promote the freedom doctrine.
President Kennedy’s speech is remembered for his Cold War challenge to catch up to and pass the Soviet military space threat.
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