On July 20, 1969, I watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step onto the surface of the moon. I was 17 and sitting with my mother and father in our living room in suburban Detroit. No one spoke as we leaned into the TV, peering intently at the grainy black and white video that was coming live from the moon.
I was literally breathless with excitement. I had grown up reading science fiction. I loved the space program. I was convinced that Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind" really was the dawning of a new age of exploration. Today as we mark the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, it seems so clear that what I once thought was a giant leap now looks like a quaint sidestep.
What Armstrong, Aldrin and the thousands of others at NASA did that day was an amazing achievement. In the long run, though, the space program has done far less to change the world than something else that happened in 1969.
Seventeen days before the moon landing, UCLA put out a news release introducing this new fangled thing called the Internet.
I thought the moon landing was going to be a pivotal point in history. I was so wrong. The real point of change turned out to be the event everyone ignored. I wonder what we're missing today.