Fifty years…fifty years? How can that be so? I was home from college watching this once in a lifetime event with mother, David, and Ben…who had been home from Vietnam just a couple of months. We all sat in complete awe and disbelief on July 20th, 1969. A knock on the door broke the spell of the moment…I forgot I had a date. We had backed it up until Neil Armstrong said his famous words…”that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
My good friend Jerry, neighborhood boy, had just graduated from the Citadel and he brought his roommate home for a few days before he was to report for military duty. He asked me if I would go out with him and his own date. He told me Julian was shy so not to be offended if he didn’t talk much….but with all the excitement of watching the moon walk….none of us could hardly get a word in saying…”Did you see this or that….wasn’t it so cool”
I remember us getting ice cream and driving to the golf course where we could see the moon better…laughing far into the night at this amazing feat of American pioneer spirit. When Julian walked me back to the porch…I teased him….telling him Jerry had told me he was shy and didn’t talk much…apparently I witnessed another Julian ….He grinned and replied…“You just got me on a good day.”
I heard later he was in Vietnam but lost track of him after my neighbor moved away…but for one special moment in my youth…I will always remember a wonderful night of American patriotism and pride, ice cream, and a new perspective on the “Old Man in the Moon.” Now he had company…Neil Armstrong.
My wonderful friend, Jo, sent me her memories of this event ….now and in July of 1969 as fellow history teachers…lovers of history. But they were too good not to share….*and please if any of you are willing to share your memories of July 20, 1969… please do.
“Just had to share this with someone who appreciates history as much as I do. Last night, I watched ” Eight Days with Apollo 11″ on ETV. It went through all eight days of the flight that carried the first man to the moon. I remember 50 years ago on July 20th when I kept my six year old Kelly up to watch history being made. She doesn’t remember much about it, but I told her then, “Someday you can tell your grandchildren , “I saw that”.
“As I watched Wednesday night, I found myself holding my breath just as I did then. I am still just as amazed as I was then. I do hope technology has not taken away the wonderful feeling of amazement from our future generations. Oh I know, there are so many more things man and his robots will invent and do, but I want to see that feeling of “awe” in our young people.”
“I say to my grandsons, “Those cars are driving themselves!!!” and I barely get a nod. Really nature amazes me. I watch birds and the things they do, and I say to myself, “Now how could anyone not believe there is a God, Creator? Things just can’t happen like that.” Okay, I stand amazed at so many things, and as Forest said, “Now that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
So until tomorrow…I think we only grow old when we no longer wonder or stand in awe at the mysteries of the universe and life. …And Jo, “...that’s all I’m going to say about that.” 🙂