On this date, we remember the man from above, the carpenter’s son who changed the world for all humankind and brought in a whole new culture, outlook, and future by his selfless actions, regardless of how anyone personally feels about it within circles that somehow dismiss his presence. So today, let’s all keep him in our hearts, and strive to emulate the courage and convictions of Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space who, 59 years ago, sat atop a few million pounds of explosives in Vostok 1 to cross that forbidding threshold and bring us into the space age. Why? Where did you think I was going with all this?
Here in the US, we’re getting a little better about recognizing the accomplishments of the space programs without crass tribalism, but there are still too few people who have even heard his name, much less know anything at all about the man or the mission, so I encourage anyone who hasn’t or doesn’t to follow the link above to find out a bit more, and any others that they come across in a simple websearch. It’s hard for me to fathom how much the space programs have changed since then, in scope, technology, and most especially attitudes. I grew up on the US space program, and it’s one of the few things that I get nostalgic for; there are various models on my desk, and tucked away waiting to be built, that represent this focus, but as I typed this I realized that I didn’t have any Soviet examples. That’s been corrected now: a model of Vostok 1 should be on its way to me as this posts.
So have a Happy Gagarin Day everyone!
[Feel free to check out my thoughts on the fiftieth year anniversary, at this post. Also, for giggles this posted at 06:07 Universal Coordinated Time, the time that Vostok 1 lifted off, because I do stupid meaningless shit like that ;-)]