It was on this day in 1969 that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon.

They were part of the Apollo 11 crew. An estimated 600 million people watched live coverage of the moon landing. (I was among them, freshly back from Vietnam, sitting on the floor of our small unfurnished apartment overlooking a parking garage on Chicago’s North Side, gasping in amazement.)

The future of mankind lies out there, in space, and yet man is so myopic, so timid and self-absorbed, that despite that brave step forward, he has since taken two steps back. Once again, the keys to the future lie in understanding the lessons of the past.