“First Man” The controversy

Edmond P. DeRousse September 10, 2018 at 1:16 pm


“First Man”, A mankind achievement or an American achievement.

“First Man” is a movie about American Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the moon.

I have never written a review of a movie before first experiencing it, but with this one I am. I have seen the official trailer for “First Man” and it looks awesome. I am not sure, though, if I will spend money to see it because of the controversy surrounding it. The controversy is that the movie does not show the planting of the American Flag on the moon’s surface. Many believe that to be an injustice and an attempt to change and/or ignore American history.

That scene, the movie makers believe, could be construed as “offensive” because it will show the United States as a country unwilling to accept it as a mankind achievement. Instead it demonstrates one country’s superiority over another?

On July 20, 1969 in the lobby of a college dorm, I watched fuzzy video of American astronauts landing on the surface of the moon. I watched as American astronauts planted an American Flag on its surface. I watched it with astonishment and, yes, pride.

The race to the moon began in 1955. Rocket technology was introduced during WWII. Scientist from around the world saw that as an opportunity to explore space. The technology could be used to improve meteorological predictions. But Russia and the United States, during the “Cold War”, each viewed rocket technology superiority as necessary for national security and, Yes, ideological superiority, Democracy vs Communism. Thus, creating the Space Race.

Russia was the first to orbit the Earth. They launched Sputnik October 4. 1957.  On April 12, 1961, the first man, a Russian, reached outer space. A month and a half later President Kennedy announced to Congress his goal of sending an American to the Moon before the end of the decade. On September 12, 1962 he told the United States and me, a twelve-year-old boy, that “We choose to go to the moon…..” and would land an American there before the end of the decade.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

It may not be fair to give an opinion of a movie before it is seen. (Release date is October 12, 2018.) Based upon the responses of those involved with making it, giving my opinion of it is valid. Hollyweird says no flag planting scene in “First Man” because the movie represents “humankind” achievement. No doubt it was an achievement for all of mankind. It was also a US achievement.

In the midst of the Vietnam conflict and a great deal of civil unrest, seeing a positive outcome of a US involvement was a moment of pride for me and, I believe, my county. I did not view it as the US demonstrating superiority over the rest of the world. I believe today’s movie makers do. Instead I saw it as a fulfillment of a former president’s promise. That president was one of my heroes

Without US involvement, the moon landing would not have happened. Only two countries were actively involved in this adventure. It was afterall a competition with a rival country, Russia. That competition involved US workers, US money, US Astronauts, and US pride. Under those circumstances, it is inaccurate history not to include planting the US flag on the surface of the moon.

I consider myself to be an American patriot first, and then mankind patriot. I was born in America, live in America, take pride in its accomplishments, and believe in promoting America

If I see the movie, (and I am not sure I will) it will be for entertainment only, not for accurate historical portrayal. movie trailer


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