In 1968, the human race finally left earth orbit and headed into space. It was Apollo 8, the first manned trip to leave earth’s orbit, sent to the moon to practice the maneuvers that would land Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the surface just one year later.
The voyage marked the first time the earth had ever been photographed from a distance, and few people who watched will ever forget that Christmas – and the sound of astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders reading the book of Genesis while orbiting the moon. Once pictures made it back, poet Archibald MacLeish put his thoughts to paper – words that came to mind as we all watched the shadow of that same moon cross our planet during this week’s total solar eclipse.
If you’ve never heard what MacLeish wrote, there’s a recording of it – and the words are worth hearing almost 50 years later. It’s a lesson we’re still trying to learn.