Monday, July 20, 2009

To the moon

I cannot let the 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk go by without recalling where I was.

At Grandma's house in Salem.

I would have been six years old, and I remember sitting cross-legged in her living room, watching as the astronauts walked on the earth's satellite.

What I can't recall is how I came to be there. I have always been fascinated with space and the space program, so I like to think that little six-year-old me, who by that time was reading the newspaper front to back, just like today, knew that this was a momentous occasion and deemed it worthy of a time-out from playing with action figures and GI dolls with my brother and young uncle.

Most likely my grandmother called us in and told us to watch. Oddly, I don't recall any one else in the room with me at the time. My uncles would have been 5 and 9; surely the older one was there, too. My brother would have only been three, so he may not have been present.

In the past I have had people tell me they remember seeing this at school, which always confuses me. Unless there were a lot of folks in summer school, I think most likely they were at home. Maybe they remember seeing it for the first time during a replay of the event while they were at school?

This made me doubt my own memories of seeing the original actual broadcast at my grandmother's, but these days I am fairly sure my memory is accurate, if old.

We have not made a similar accomplishment since, and indeed we seem to be in a decline, moving from greatness to not-so-great. I am not sure from where this comes but that is my perception, anyway. Seems like all we care about as a people are our individual pocketbooks and not anything as a community or society. There is no collective love of the greater good running rampant around here, anyway.

I hope that someday during my lifetime I will see some other wondrous event that parallels this one, a positive step, a hope and triumph that does not lead to war and violence. Maybe a trip to Mars?


  1. Definitely a summer the news confirms for you. I was visiting NYC at the time and can attest it was HOT!!!

  2. I find it sad that we can only aspire to such greatness when trying to do-down a rival. The astronauts today were talking about a global alliance aimed at reaching Mars - and for just a moment I could imagine it: all the world's nations together looking beyond their petty differences and rivalries and making a noble statement of future unity. Then reality returned, and the sordid competition for dominance and control of resources which continues to dictate our decisions and divert our energies from greatness to brute vying for a brief advantage in some trivial matter or other.

  3. A movie I would highly recommend is "In the Shadow of the Moon". It's a documentary of the early space program. It gave me goosebumps to watch and is extremely well done.


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