I wonder how many bloggers chose that title today? I’m sitting here, listening to the rebroadcast of the moon landing on www.wechoosethemoon.net, and feeling a bit nostalgic. I was seven years old in 1969, and we lived in Florence, Alabama. Having lived in the Tennessee Valley for the past six years, I was well aware of the Apollo missions and the part that the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville was playing sixty miles away. We had lived in Decatur during the first few years of that period, only twenty miles from Huntsville, and I can remember climbing the ladder of a full-size mock-up of the lunar module at a county fair in Decatur. I also remember collecting newspaper clippings of many of the Apollo missions. I’m sure they are still somewhere around my house, shoved in a box somewhere.
In spite of my interest and awareness, my actual memories of the landing and moonwalk are pretty hazy. Given the date, I was clearly not in school, so I believe I must have listened to the landing broadcast. I do have a vague memory of our parents waking up my brother and I to watch the moonwalk later that night, but that memory could be the result of watching numerous documentaries and movies. I guess I just assume I watched it, but I can’t be sure.
I view the Apollo 11 moon landing as the defining historical moment of my life. I remember when young engineers started coming to work at my employer who were not yet born at the time of the landing. It made me feel old and still does. I do, however, have a sense of joy in having been alive when the moon landing happened (pride is the wrong word, since I know I had nothing to do with it; I wasn’t even paying taxes at that age).
I don’t know if the U.S. will ever send men to the moon again (or women for the first time). I would like to see us do it again, just for the adventure of it. Mankind needs something wonderful from time to time to remind us of what it can achieve when it is united for a common goal.