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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do you remember the Moon Landing?

Where were you, if alive?

I can remember growing up in the late 50s and all through the 60s and early 70s how very EXICITING it was to follow the space race. I don't think kids of today can realize what a thrill it was to watch the space program unfold. From watching dud rockets that exploded or barely got off the ground, to those early space flights where each one built on the next. We could remember the awful setbacks, such as the Apollo I fire, but also how exciting each lift off was. OFten times, we'd get to watch a launch in our classrooms. I can remember once bringing in my own little black and white[!] TV to the classroom, so we could watch one of the launches.

EVERYONE stopped EVERYTHING. And you watched. And held your breath. And you Cheered. And you were thrilled.

I can remember how after Neil and Buzz landed (while Collins orbited the moon) they managed to SLEEP some hours, before Neil took his first step out. What headiness.

And then all those moon landings came to an end before I was even out of high school. Going around and around the earth is just as dangerous - but it doesn't capture the public imagination as much for most people. Sad.

A decade after, I worked for General Dynamics in San Diego - and I can remember my boss telling me: "They could NEVER do it now for the same cost. Because there were MANY hundreds of engineers putting in free time on the space project, just for the glory of being associated with it. They'd put in their normal 8 hours, on doing perhaps, some defense related contract, then go help their buddies." By LAW they'd be forbidden from doing that now. It's not something most government bean counters would understand. You can't work on contracts that way anymore.

Now we don't even pay attention to shuttle launches -- unless one has a "major malfunction." *sigh*

I wonder, if you polled a bunch of US 10 year olds today -- could they name the members of the Apollo 11 crew?

[Incidently, please remember Mary Jo Kopechne in your prayers this weekend. It's also the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Ted Kennedy Scub Club.]


Anonymous said...

I remember Walter Cronkite (who died today) nearly crying at the landing. Also the phone call from "Tricky Dick" (folks this was before cell phones & the breakup of AT&T),

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

I don't know why Blogger removed my signaturw fromthe previous post

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

The Moon Landing (along with the Planet Killer episode of Star Trek) is my earliest memory of an historical event. I was four years old and remember watching it on an old B&W TV at my grandparents'. I remember thinking, "Big deal. They do this on Lost in Space all the time." I also remember watching, with the rest of my 2nd grade class, the last LEM leave the moon.

gemoftheocean said...

AA - I didn't hear about WC's death until this evening. I remember when I got old enough to know about such things how Wally lied his ass off during the Vietnam war, etc. I never forgave him for being, essentially, on the side of the Commie rat *******s. I consider him my first betrayal of the lame stream press. At least he was an actual REPORTER as compared to the bubble heads that just read what's handed to them.

Fr. Erik: LOL!!! I used to love lost in Space. Apollo 11 happened the summer just before my 13th birthday. although the movie isn't about the moon landing per se, I think "the right stuff" best captures the feel of the excitment the country felt re: adventure. It had occured to me earlier that for some bloggers the moon landing might well be their first memory of anything "big." The EF pastor was 2 at the time...I'd be curious to know if perhaps that might be his first memory of anything big like that either.

The first "event" I remembered (though I didn't remember the name of the school later) was the Holy Angels Fire in Chicago, 1958 when I was a little over two. It was on the news all day, and my mother kept that from me until evening when she told me about the dozens of children and nuns that had been killed at that fire (almost 100.)

I didn't connect the dots until years later, but that memory gave me a life long fear that being caught in some sort of fire has to be the worst way to die. I've always been "fire concious" and I think that's why.

Oh, and I was always waiting for "Dr. Smith" to take Billy Mumy behind one of those 4 or 5 big rocks they had as various plantets and beat the snot out of him, just on "general principle" but it never happened!

Packrat said...

You certainly have a better memory than I do. :)

You are right about the Space Program. It was a huge deal. We often watched launches at school. I used to know all the names of the astronauts and the rockets. I don't pay attention any more.

I remember watching "the walk" on TV. It must have been in at home in Detroit. This was the summer after my 9th grade; we had just moved to Detroit in April of that year.

I vividly remember the Ted Kennedy mess (mildly put w/much sarcasm intended). Unfortunately, I can never remember Mary Jo's name. Her death was tragic, no matter what she was up to. The cover up was tragic for the country. This is the one that I am amazed no one knows or remembers.

My first really big memory of anything really tragic on the national level (other than the Cold War) was when President Kennedy was shot.

gemoftheocean said...

Packrat. Yes, we're close in vintage. Actually Mary Jo is someone pretty much all Ted Kennedy haters remember.

It was the epidsode that started to uncover the long standing "gentleman's agreement" about the Kennedy family.

Before that, they all wore halos. Oh, the liberal press of a lot of the dirty political dealings, but back then because they *could* cover some news stories objectively, they were able to hide their liberal agenda behind a facade of respectablility.

Give thanks to Joey Gargan (Ted's Cousin) for NOT agreeing to be the fall guy.

Chappy forever put the nail in the coffin that Teddy would ever be C-in-C. The freaks from Massachusetts keep covering for him though.

It was only THIS past spring/summer that I finally learned why they haven't thrown the bum out. He's see, but he's DEMOCRAT "Irish" scum on the Make. Apparently, in some quarters because he got to "be somebody" they don't diss their own, now matter what kind fo scoundrel. So they always cover his butt "but he *cares* so much about the poor." Never mind if it's true or not.... I'm not saying the Irish are the only ones who do this (or "F.B.I" for that matter, but when a friend of largely Irish background (an a mixed family, politically) explained it to me, certain things came to light that I hadn't considered before. Whereas MANY "groups" of people are really inclinded to throw the "runt" of the litter to the wolves if the runt screws up, because they don't want guilt by association.

Not so Liberal Democrats of Irish heritage.

Flame away. The retardant suit is on.

But to my almost 13 year old ears, I knew Teddy was a lying sack of excrement when he pulled that "I was exhausted and fell asleep and just couldn't get my butt to the phone to call the cops" routine.


I did remember the "hub-bub" about the Cuban Missile Crisis too but was not worried -- the JFK assasination I remember like yesterday, almost and it was the first "big deal" I really got a handle on and followed.

Dino said...

More than 40,000 middle-aged men will remember where they were and what they were doing on that day.
They were watching the landing on truckloads of borrowed TV sets brought to Farragut State Park, Idaho, where they were participating in the Boy Scout National Jamboree.
Most will remember the greeting from space by Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong, as well.

gemoftheocean said...

:-D Dino, I take it you were one of those guys!!! Congrats!! You're one of the few who made it to Eagle! (What is it, less than 1%?)

BTW, wonder if Buddy Hackett really did start the Gorsky story.

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