Throughout history, both organized and spontaneous walks have made headlines. A walk can become symbolic of a cause, entertain thousands, or even change the world. The impact from a historic walk remains long after the footprints have disappeared. Here are seven walks that made history over the past 100 years.
The Moon Walk
On July 20, 1969, at 10:39 p.m., Apollo 11 astronauts first stepped on the lunar surface, and Neil Armstrong uttered the immortal phrase, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The walk itself lasted two-and-a-half hours, during which time Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin collected rock samples, conducted experiments, erected a flag, and took a phone call from President Richard Nixon. The astronauts left commemorative medallions of deceased space explorers on the moon surface, along with a computer disk containing goodwill messages from more than 70 countries.
Selma to Montgomery
There are few events that have had an impact on the civil rights movement more than the historic walk from March 21 to March 25, 1965. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr., the 54-mile voting rights demonstration stretched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. By the time the group reached the state capital, the number of marchers had grown to 25,000. The walk contributed to the later passage of the Voting Rights Act, and the route has since been commemorated as a U.S. National Historic Trail.
Philippe Petit Walks a High Wire between the Twin Towers
In New York City on August 7, 1974, tightrope walker Philippe Petit achieved a historic feat as he walked a quarter mile above street level across the 130-foot gap between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. During the 45-minute journey back and forth between the towers, he completed eight crossings, entertaining the crowds below. When the stunt was over, he was arrested for 14 separate misdemeanors. Later the charges were dismissed and he became a folk hero, hounded for autographs wherever he went.
Occupy Wall Street
The 1960’s-style protest walk from New York to Washington D.C. took Occupy Wall Street supporters two weeks to complete in November 2011. The 231-mile trek lost some individuals along the way, but picked up some supporters. The group’s mission was to call attention to social and economic inequality and corporate greed and corruption. The protest had neither the participation of previous marches nor the legislative accomplishments, but it showed that public demonstration to effect change did not die in the civil rights era.
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Climb Mount Everest
Until the middle of the 20th century, no one knew if it was humanly possible to climb Mount Everest. The peak of Earth’s highest mountain, located in the Himalayas on the border of China and Nepal, is more than 29,000 feet above sea level. On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, made history by reaching this highest point on Earth. The morning of the ascent, it was so cold on the mountain that Hillary’s boots had frozen solid. After about 15 minutes at the summit, they began their trek down before the drifting snow could obscure their path.
The Dandi March with Mahatma Ghandi
Also known as the Salt Satyagraha, the Dandi March began on March 12, 1930. Led by Mahatma Ghandi, this 24-day, 240-mile expedition extended from Ghandi’s ashram at Sabarmati to the town of Dandi on the Arabian Sea. The march was an organized campaign of resistance and nonviolent protest against a salt monopoly controlled by the British. This challenge to governmental authority was an important step toward Indian independence, which was granted in 1947. The event had a strong influence on later American activists during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Karl Wallenda’s Tallulah Falls Gorge Walk
The Wallenda family of circus performers has entertained people with stunts and daredevil acts for decades. The troupe began performing without a safety net after one was lost in transit prior to a Madison Square Garden show in 1928. The family’s patriarch, Karl Wallenda, made history when he walked a tightrope across a 1,200-foot expanse at Tallulah Falls Gorge in Georgia on July 18, 1970. At a height of over 700 feet above ground, Wallenda performed two headstands for an audience of 30,000 people. He was 65 years old at the time.
Your Life’s Walk
Some steps people have taken have inspired people across the world. Be it a pilgrimage for a cause or an athletic feat, walking is symbolic of achievement and progress. No matter where your walks in life take you, we want you to walk with stability and confidence.