Monday, January 19, 2015

Moon Landing: Far Horizons

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The summer of 1969 was like a vacation after such an intense school year.  Oh, the usual working with Mom, which I treasure, went on.  The crazy heat and humidity of the Midwest turned our upstairs bedrooms into ovens.  Counting the days and crossing them off until my college freshman year began was part of my calendar.

My weight had been sinking all year until I was at 105 pounds.  Being 5’4”, even I could see how skeletal I looked.  I was not anorexic.  I simply could not eat.  Ulcer medication was not yet so sophisticated, so my diet consisted of baby food, minced meat, and a baked potato.  Those foods my stomach would tolerate.

Once I “won” a scholarship, my stomach sighed and allowed normal food to enter.  My weight zoomed up to 115 pounds, and I felt good. Later the scale would should a healthier 125.

My vision of the future had been through a  mind's eye mental telescope, seeing only the campus and dorms and an education that would move me from cornfields to parts of the world.  

Then July 20, 1969, changed my vision.

The Moon Landing date was projected and changed time over the week.  Then NASA confirmed it would happen at night here on July 20.  My excitement was rising with each hour on that day; I talked of nothing else. 

My parents went to bed, while I settled down in front of our new television, which was color.  Wait, I was waiting on every commentary, every radio transmission. In the “wee” hours of the morning, it happened: finally grainy black and white images appeared on the screen.

Even now, I can remember the images and words.

Wikipedia

I moved my single-minded mental telescope from college campus up to the dark sky, where the moon and stars had once seemed so far away until that day.


This time I was not watching for UFOs.  The future had changed for me on July 20, 1969.

It was often said after that time that America had "won" the race to the moon.  Won?  What do you think?

24 comments:

  1. Bet it was awesome to see as it went on indeed. Not sure what anyone actually "won" by going to the moon though. I'm sure it cost a lot to get there so maybe they "won" a bigger bill.

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    1. Oh, how very true. JFK put the moon race to a timeline of ten years. Can not imagine the funding for that.

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  2. It was an exciting time...realizing that what was unfolding on the screen before us was actually happening in the sky above us in real time. I kind of wish we had left the old moon alone though...I fear that someday it will be turned into a junk yard.

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    1. Perhaps the junk can be used by new tenants?

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  3. I remember it well. We, in America, felt a great deal of pride.

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    1. We certainly did. Something always seemed so far away now was accessible.

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  4. Yes, I'm bothered about the junk yard, too, but fear that there is enough rubbish swirling around in space already.

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  5. The moon landing was an exciting event. Did we win? In some ways yes, but it seems like we lost that initial spirit that drove us then. There is so much more to do regarding space exploration.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I believe the private funding might shame a few higher-ups to donate/if not try to take over the project. Won't happen.

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  6. I remember exactly where I was, who I was with, when we watched it unfold. I'm not sure we won anything except the expense exploring space as cost "we the people."

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    1. It changed the whole "eye to the sky" possibilities.

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  7. I remember that day, although not as clearly as I was a child at the time. And I agree with Lee's thoughts.

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    1. the event gave meaning to and interest in meteors, asteroids, astronomy.

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  8. Was't it exciting! I believe it was the media that promoted the "win." Leaders with vision didn't dwell on the win; space is too big.
    I think it's exciting that international teams keep banging away at the space station. And I think it is exciting that the new moon Rover found the little British Beagle; it actually made it's landing on Christmas day, several years. ago.

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    1. What a day! Hard to imagine the NASA control here on Earth and the exuberance they felt.

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  9. I remember it well. We had hired a television for the day to watch it. Awe and wonder. Now? Hopes that we learn to look after what we have before we set out to claim (and trash) any new frontiers.

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    1. Mars next? Now there's something that can be explored through much, a while bunch of planning.

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  10. 125. So a freshman 10 rather than 15?

    Won the race to the moon? Perhaps that particular heat, but not the whole track meet.

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    1. Most races do seem to be run in different heats, difference times. The moon race was a sprint, I think.

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  11. I remember knowing nothing about the moon landing and hearing others talk about the exciting news, listening in until I got the gist. It just didn't seem important to me. Maybe I thought it was just another new movie everyone was all excited about. I really didn't pay much attention to the world around me back then and if I'm honest I don't pay all that much attention now either.

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    1. At that time period, so much was happening everywhere: Vietnam, space race, MLK Jr, Democratic convention in Chicago...everywhere in a world that seemed unrelated to mine.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!