There’s actually quite a good parallel in exploration history. In the winter of 1911/1912, Amundsen and Scott raced to the South Pole. Amundsen got there first, got back, and Scott died and became a posthumous hero.
After that, there were a few expeditions around the edges of the continent, and there were still whalers in the Antarctic Ocean, but nobody went back to the Pole for decades; until 1958, in fact. The thing is, when the Americans went, they did it in force, and for good. In combination with the permanent bases on the continent’s perimeter, it’s been inhabited continually since.
Now, there’s no reason that going back to the moon has to follow the same script: it won’t unless something forces us to. The thing is, nothing really stopped a base at the South Pole, except the will to make one.