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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Celebrating Apollo 11 is a lot harder with Trump dividing us

Apollo 11 Vietnam
American servicemen pause on a downtown Saigon, Vietnam, street on July 21, 1969, to read a local newspaper account of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
(Hugh Van Es / Associated Press)

To the editor: President John F. Kennedy dared to dream about going to the moon and believed this country could accomplish such a daunting task. When Apollo 11 accomplished that very mission 50 years ago today, it brought a nation together and showed what could happen when people worked together for the benefit of all humanity.

Fast forward to the divided nation we are today. The current administration is leading the charge against anyone who is not in step with the president’s antiquated ideal of America — an America that never really existed for most people in the first place.

It is wonderful to celebrate Apollo 11 landing on the moon on July 20, 1969. Yet to yearn for a time of hatred, segregation and bigotry serves no one. The current president’s ratcheting up of racial tension shows what an ugly time this is for America.

Leaders come in all forms. President Kennedy was full of hope and ideas for the still-young country he loved, fought for during World War II and tragically died serving. President Trump, a bully and narcissist, will be remembered only for the hatred and fear he unleashed and tried to foist upon us; we can only hope he fails.

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Frances Terrell Lippman, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: What a difference half a century makes.

Fifty years ago, people all over the world watched as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Despite how people coast to coast felt about the Vietnam War back then, we came together as a nation to celebrate what only American ingenuity could produce.

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Today, as I watch the spectacle unfolding between Trump and the four congresswomen of color, I am reminded how much work there still is yet to be done here at home. Ours is not a perfect union, but it is far better than most nations on Earth.

Isn’t the search for a better life why Trump’s grandfather and the parents of two of the lawmakers under attack came to this country? Asking these duly elected members of the House to “go back” to their countries is wrong-headed and un-American.

Neither Trump nor I will be here 50 years from now, but the four members of Congress very well could be. Too bad the president won’t be around in 2069 to celebrate what I’m sure will be their many American accomplishments.

Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach

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To the editor: Watching the first moonwalk as a 13-year-old shaped how I identified as an American. On hearing Neil Armstrong’s first words on the surface of the moon, my generation gained the understanding that we were capable of sharing such a great accomplishment with the world.

As that achievement demanded the best efforts of so many, with only constructive intent, and provided so much inspiration for Americans and humanity, why on Earth is July 20 not a national holiday?

Michael Llach, Porter Ranch

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To the editor: In 1969, my three brothers and I all worked for divisions of North American Rockwell and had a part — small as it may have been -- in the Apollo program.

On my 20th birthday — July 20, 1969 — we watched as humans’ first visit to the surface of the moon was televised. It was my best birthday ever, and now 50 years later, we all still feel a glow, for that magic never faded. The accomplishment required hundreds of thousands of humans on Earth working to complete the mission.

We can all be proud to know that when we met the late president’s challenge, it was quintessential teamwork and courage that made the impossible possible.

Happy anniversary, Apollo 11; indeed, yours was a journey of peace for all humankind.

A. Starflower Thomson, Joshua Tree


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