Tomorrow is the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing: “One small step for man—one giant step for mankind.” I went into my father’s box of old newspapers to see what moon-landing treasures he had saved.
We have the liftoff, which is being recreated by the Air and Space Museum with a projection on the Washington Monument of the rocket which carried the astronauts to the moon. This is a very cool use of technology.
Next is the photo of Buzz Aldrin, taken by Neil Armstrong, as he climbed down the steps of the lunar module onto the surface of the moon.
And the most famous—Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon as the reflection of the American flag and Armstrong are seen in his helmet.
I recall staying up late to watch the landing. Thank goodness is was summer vacation so we did not have to get into a battle with my parents about staying up past our bedtime. That first lunar walk was scheduled to occur at 2:00 am, but they pushed it forward three hours earlier to just before 11:00 pm. Thank goodness for that.
When they returned to earth, the astronauts were quarantined for nearly a month to protect them from any “moon germs” they may have been exposed to during that historic event. Even the astronaut who remained aboard the spacecraft remained in isolation with his luckier moonwalkers.
The ship went through a fiery reentry. Check it out.
What I had forgotten about but learned while viewing those old newspapers was that the astronauts shared their big day with the Ted Kennedy scandal. The day before the moon landing, the senator from Massachusetts was involved in an accident, which left a young woman who was a passenger in his car dead and left his political career in jeopardy because he left the scene of the accident. That news put a slight damper on the excitement of the day, but not so much because I bet most of you youngins know little, if anything, about the scandal. History remembers the joy more than the Teddy event, although at the time, it was a huge distraction.
Americans needs something to get excited about again.