I was seven years old and well into my lifelong passion for all things space. What I didn’t know was that, on that toasty night in 1969, I was part of a global audience of 600 million people captivated by those grainy, ghostly images—and what they represented.
While neither the first nor the last space mission to be carried on TV, Apollo 11 was unique in the power of its singular message, summed up in a single word: We.
“I was amazed that everywhere we went, people said, ‘We—we did it. We, you and me, the inhabitants of this wonderful Earth. We did it,’” recalls Michael Collins, Apollo 11 command module pilot, narrating a new Google Doodle honoring the first moon landing.
Today, our society is more individualistic, more insular, more likely to consume news on our respective smartphones than to watch an event together. From politics to philanthropy, we’re more inclined to seek what “I want” rather than what “we need.”
And yet, as I spend my days communicating with and on behalf of clients, I sense a different wish. I sense a deep-down yearning to connect, to tack back toward the We.
How might that happen? Only when we have the courage to embrace what a wise man once said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”
As we reflect on half a century since “one giant leap for mankind,” perhaps we’ll be inspired to embrace the We once again.