Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Feel Old Yet? Class of 2023 Too Young to Remember Moon Landing

Photo by Chase Sutton / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Freshman year feels like yesterday! One of the scariest parts of getting older is realizing that the world is steadily being filled with people who weren’t even around to experience the events so fundamental to our collective worldview. Those who stride the halls of power in a few decades will be part of a different cultural dialogue. We can only pray that they will be mindful of the perspectives of those who lived their lives in a world long gone.

Remember the moon landing? Remember the awe with which we all beheld our grainy television screens as our celestial companion entered mankind’s provender?

Who could see the dusky mount of Armstrong on Mare Tranquillitatis and fail to know the apotheosis of our ancient dream of flight? Who then did not viscerally glean that four billion years of rocky sleep had come to close, that the hoarfrost of eonic passage could now be seen through a glass, darkly? That the earth, so distant in fragility and so fragile in distance was now the shared stock of those who had transcended it at long last.

Yes, the tether of the land has been snapped thousandfold in the years since. But the frayed cord, made pathetic in abuse, can no longer command the same numen as did the clarion call of that first sundering.

The children of this second age will never know the realities of the first or the pathos of its end. When we greet the University’s two hundred sixty sixth class in the coming fall, we must be mindful of this. The epoch of sand and stone has died its second, final, death as those who were raised in it are outnumbered by those who were not.

So when we find ourselves at student orientation, surrounded by wide eyes who have never seen the sun go down, we must accept that we have become card carrying citizens of a foreign land. We can try our best to connect with them, to sear the brand of that fateful summer from our hippocampi, but the dissonance imposed by time will make our connections short lived and empty.

Such is our lot, and such is our noble burden.

Feel old yet?