He was not one of ours — if by “ours” you mean an American but the further we go out in space, the less earthly distinctions like nationality will matter.
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Russian — a Soviet in the parlance of the time — and 60 years ago today he became the first human being in space.
That is an achievement we should salute no matter what country he hailed from or what political system he gave his allegiance to.
We Americans have grown up idolizing our own heroes, as we should.
Tom Wolfe, a Richmonder who graduated from Washington and Lee University, gave us “The Right Stuff,” and then Hollywood gave us a movie.
More recently, we have been captivated to learn of other heroes — more precisely, heroines — that we didn’t know existed.
“Hidden Figures,” first the book by Margot Shetterly and later the movie, told the stories of the Black women whose math skills helped launch the white men of “The Right Stuff” into space.
To be historically honest, though, we should be mindful of the famous quote about the dancer Fred Astaire: “Sure he was great but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, backwards … and in high heels.”
The Russians did the big space firsts first — and with far less technology. Americans launched into space from the sunny beaches of Florida. The Soviets had engineers living in converted box cars on the steppes of Kazakhstan.
This Article firstly Publish on roanoke.com