Saturday, July 18, 2009
I can recall it as if it was yesterday. It was a day of amazing excitement. The world had been on tender hooks since the launch of Apollo 11 several days earlier. The space program was a big thing in America in those days.
I had grown up with it watching John Glenn and every other astronaut go into space. It was the new frontier. It is interesting how much everyone got into it and how excited everyone was. We were going to the moon!
It is funny that on TV that week there was lots of TV shows and movies about space and landing on the moon. I still recall a movie shown at that time called the first men on the moon or something like that.
Every one's thoughts were with the three men in space. I remember their pictures were everywhere. The afternoon of the 20th was the time they were to land on the moon.
I was living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the time and was over at my friends house. It was really nice at his house as they had not only a big antenna over their house to get better reception, but also a big color TV. Not many people had color TV's in 1969 as they were expensive. So for me to see TV in color was always exciting. I recall also that they had a big Lava lamp on top of the TV and my friend had black lights in his room. It was the 60's.
I remember when the time came we were all around the Color TV watching Walter Cronkite speak and listen to the astronauts talk as we watched a cartoon of the landing. One has to remember that there was no way to film the landing and everything was done in drawings or cartoons. That was normal for many things on TV in those days.
I remember we watched and soon we heard Cronkite grasp for words as did everyone else on earth. Man had landed on the moon! It was 8:17 PM EST. We all jumped up and cheered. It was such an exciting moment and one that I will never forget. As soon as that was over I went home. Well I ran home to be honest I was so excited. I remember running so hard and fast in a way I cannot imagine now. But this was an exciting moment in the life of a boy in 1969.
That night I sat with my mother in front of our small black and white TV and watched the walk on the moon. I seem to recall that when the picture started before Neal Armstrong stepped onto the moon it flashed out upside down for a moment and then was corrected. It was a video and sometimes when a camera is starting it does strange things. We watched breathlessly as Armstrong slowly descended the stairs. Then man stood on the moon. We watched the entire moon walk that was not too easy to see or watch. It was being broadcast in black and white so it was fine for us. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounced and moved all over and it was exciting to see. I recall thinking of the history of it all.
After watching this for what I guess was two hours I was ready for bed. Before I did I took my dog Shef for walk. Shef was interested in the trees and the grass, but my eyes were looking into space. I am sure I was not alone that night looking into the vastness of space and imagining what it was really like out there.