Monday, July 20, 2009

Apollo 11

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon walk. You know the one-- Neil Armstrong's "small step for man, giant leap for mankind" stroll on the lunar surface. Buzz Aldrin followed.

Even though I was just 7 years old at the time, I have great memories of the Apollo 11 mission. The first moon walk was late at night. I remember being sprawled out on the foot of my parents' bed, watching things unfold on a portable black and white television. I can still see that set. General Electric. Blue plastic case, off white/beige speakers at the bottom. It was a decent size for a portable. Reception wasn't the greatest. WDAU came in the best, and as long as you had Cronkite, you had all you needed.

Thanks to Vietnam, 1969 was a tough time to be a young adult, but it was a great time to be a kid.

Only a dozen men have walked on the moon. Three have died.

A couple years later, I remember standing in line, with my dad, in Scranton to see a travelling moon rock exhibit. Finally, there it was-- a grey rock, with little sparkles, sitting in a brightly lit glass case.

For a while, it was the answer to a good trivia question: What's the most expensive material on earth? If you use a little logic, it would be the material of which there is the least on this planet. Answer: moon rocks. I'm not sure if it's still true.

I gave it some thought the other day, and even asked a couple co-workers for input. Man's landing on the moon was probably the last universal positive event for the country. There have been many "I remember where I was when..." events, but they were all bad.

Apollo 11 revived the American spirit, at least for a little while.