Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Apollo 11 Anniversary

The moon landing, 41 years ago today, was a big deal. It was a big deal the way the invention of fire was. It was maybe as big a deal as space is. I mean, to quote Douglas Adams,

"Space ... is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mindboggingly big it is ...."

I'm saying that Apollo 11 was an unfathomably big deal. It was bigger, and vastly more important, than any media hype put out for Lady Gaga or the new season of MAD MEN or even the frikkin' San Diego Comicon itself!

I was reading about it for months before, during the spring of 1969, in my Weekly Readers that I received at Roosevelt Elementary School, in Iowa City, IA. I knew the names of all of the astronauts. My Dad bought an Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket model kit and we put it together. He showed me all the stages and the tiny capsule and LEM. He told me all of the things that could go wrong.

Maybe you had to be there to feel the chill up and down the old spine while watching the dark, blurry, shadowy video of Armstrong leaving the LEM ladder to touch alien soil. I'm fortunate to have been alive for, as my pal Brian Fies aptly puts it, "the only event during my lifetime that anyone will remember 1000 years from now."

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