|In the early morning hours of December 14, 1972, Astronaut Commander Eugene Cernan jumped to the lower rung of the ladder, cautiously climbed up the nine rungs, crawled across the small platform, and moved carefully through the tight-fitting hatch at the front of the lunar module. Gene was the last human being to stand on the surface of the Moon.
There are a total of twelve of us who got to explore another world as representatives of the people of the United States of America. As Gene Cernan had said a few minutes earlier, "We'd like to uncover a plaque that has been on the front leg of our spacecraft...I'll read what it says...'Here man completed his first exploration of the Moon, December 1972, A.D. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind'."
Astronaut Jack Schmitt, his partner on the Moon, would say, "Humankind has started to do something that they have never done before. They have gone somewhere they have never been before, and shown they could live there. That is an exciting thing."
There are only six flags on the Moon, and all of them are the Stars and Stripes. The United States of America did it by working together. Landing men on the Moon and returning safely to Earth was a brilliant triumph of the human spirit.