It's easy to identify the younger folks who weren't around/ alive/aware back in the sixties and the space race. They have no idea as to the competition between the US and the "Reds". It was a technological race like no other, ever.
Russia got their guy up there first, even orbited on that first flight. We got a couple of suborbital "up and down" missions before Glenn's 3 orbit mission, then slowly progressed to longer missions.
Then Gemini, which tested technology and procedures required for the lunar flights...station keeping, orbital maneuvering,rendezvous, docking. Apollo tested the new Apollo capsule, and the new Saturn V rocket, unmanned first, then manned on Apollo 8. A-9 tested the LM in LEO, close to Earth but still in the space environment. A-10 took it into lunar orbit, and that set the stage for Apollo 11.
It wasn't magic, or super technology. They learned about the environment up there, and built their systems to survive and operate in it. The LM won numerous design and engineering awards due to it's bare bones, mission oriented design...had everything it needed, and little else. Funky looking, yeah, but built strictly for it's mission.
Those were heady days back then, I'd like to believe we'd see something like that again, but it would require a degree of united national will and drive that I fear is just...something in the past.
We went, I'm not sure that this country has the focus or drive to do it again. It requires way more than just funding, it needs support, skills, and enthusiasm...which this country seems to have let drift away. We were on a mission like none other back then. Younger folks just didn't "live" it like we did.
We went, many times, try to rewrite history all you like. We didn't have the graphics technology to fake it, the Russians, and others tracked it. The Japanese have images of the descent stages on the surface.
We went....because we wanted to.