By an odd coincidence, some famous space-related quotations from several different sources are linked to the date May 25th.
Yeah, yeah…I know. It’s now technically referred to as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
But I saw it at my local movie theater when it first came out (several times) and I still think of it as the first Star Wars movie. I also still tend to think of it by its simple, original name.
As almost everyone on our planet knows, the opening crawl at the beginning starts with the famous words:
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”
That same phrase was later used in the opening crawls in the five following movies in the Star Wars series.
Of course, Star Wars also coined the catchphrase “May the Force be with you” and various other quotes that are well known to science fiction fans.
Given the current fame of the words “May the Force be with you” it seems strange in retrospect that they are spoken only twice in the original film; first by the character General Dodonna (actor Alex McCrindle) and then, somewhat jokingly, by Han Solo (Harrison Ford).
Other popular quotes from that film include two lines by Obi-Wan Kenobi (actor Alec Guinness): “These are not the Droids you’re looking for” and “Use the Force, Luke!”
Another is the plea made by the holographic image of Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher): “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
On May 25, 1979, exactly two years after Star Wars debuted nationwide, the movie Alien was released in the U.S.
It was by directed by another director who was little-known at the time: Ridley Scott.
“In space no one can hear you scream.”
Exactly 16 years before Star Wars debuted and 18 years before Alien hit American movie screens, President John F. Kennedy announced a vision for space travel that wasn’t science fiction.
On May 25, 1961, in a speech before a joint session of Congress, he famously announced:
“I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
Kennedy didn’t live to see it, but America succeeded in achieving his goal in 1969, when NASA’s Apollo 11 astronauts landed on and returned from the moon.
The last of America’s six manned lunar landing missions was in 1972.
Ever since then, some of us have continued to hope that our government would pursue new manned trips to the moon.
It hasn’t. And, it won’t in the near future. President Barack Obama threw cold water on that hope in a speech on April 15, 2010.
Obama announced his support for “robotic exploration of the solar system” and kept open the option of future manned missions to Mars.
But he essentially told us to forget about new manned missions to the moon during his tenure in office.
“I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon,” said Obama. “But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before.”
Ironically, Obama gave this speech at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida.
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