Monday, July 20, 2009

That's the Way it Was

July 20, 1969.

Four decades have passed since an Eagle landed and America was on top of the world.

They may not have realized it back then, but Walter Cronkite and Neil Armstrong would be linked forever in more ways than one.

The lunar landing on this day 40 years ago, was but a single event that highlighted a lifetime of achievement from two of the very best their respective professions would ever know. Cronkite, the quintessential, straight shooting anchorman who passed away Friday at the age of 92 and Armstrong, the no-nonsense astronaut who helped his nation win a race through the blackness of space, 5 months before JFK's deadline.

If Walter Cronkite was TV's patron saint of objectivity and trustworthiness, Neil Armstrong has endured as NASA's poster child for humility. Both came from an era when those qualities were not only valued but, magnified in a three channel, pre-internet universe. And in a decade featuring a dizzying array of events that unfolded on TV screens - the Kennedy and King assassinations, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam and Woodstock - the crowning achievement of the 1960's was the moment Cronkite described the successful landing of the Apollo XI mission led by Armstrong.

Technology has changed many things about the way we live each day and other public figures may be better known and inspire more passion, devotion and intensity than Walter or Neil, however, trustworthiness and humility - milder but deeper sentiments - never seems to go out of style.

Walter and Neil own a legacy that has little to do with talking on television or walking on the moon.

Two lives and careers intertwined on a timeless journey that speaks to the limitless capacity of man's imagination and dedication to an idea larger than oneself.

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's funny that you posted this today. I literally JUST read a portion of the book "From Good to Great" that talked about Level 5 leaders and their common trait of humility.

Great post today!