If you’re a geek like me (and why wouldn’t you be?), you’ve been watching a lot of TV specials on Nat Geo, PBS, and Discovery about the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo moon missions. It was a very cool time and not surprisingly it had a huge impact on me. Three years ago, to commemorate the 47th anniversary of Apollo 11, I wrote a post entitled “One Small Step.” I reread it recently and found that my scribblings then mean as much to me today as they did three years ago. So, I decided to share it again. Here it is along with the image that accompanied it. I’ve corrected a few typos, but otherwise it is unchanged. Enjoy!
One Small Step
It is hard for me to believe that 47 years ago today astronauts first walked on the moon. Wow! Tempus fugit! I was 11 years old and had just completed the fifth grade. I remember consuming every piece of news and information about Apollo 11. Of course, in those days that meant the local newspaper and fuzzy black and white images from one of three commercial broadcast TV stations. But that didn’t matter. I consumed it all, every single word and every single minute.
I wanted to be an astronaut. I remember writing a theme in fifth grade entitled, “Why I Want to be Astronaut,” including a resplendent drawing in colored magic markers of me as an astronaut. I still have that drawing. Look closely at the accompanying image and you can see that I even included a stubbled beard, which of course would result after a long trip in outer space! In the middle of the theme I noted that I would like to take along my buddy Craig “in case I needed some company.” Ah, the innocence of youth! I earned an “A” on that theme from one of my favorite teachers of all time, Mrs. Murphy. 🙂
Of course, my dreams of outer space eventually succumbed to reality, but I believe those images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left a mark on me that spurred my interest in science and ultimately contributed in a small fashion to a graduate degree in chemistry. I can’t imagine an alternate life path for me. Thanks for your contribution, Neil and Buzz!
I’ve been trying to think of something that is going on in the present day that will inspire today’s eleven-year-olds to look back and write about it in 2063. That is hard to imagine! The 1960s were a tumultuous time. Think: Vietnam War, assassinations, Civil Rights, the Cold War. Wow, I’m glad I had Neil and Buzz to get me through all that! Hmmm, now that I think about it, I don’t want to say that today is the same as 1969, but things sure seem surprisingly tumultuous to me.
Will the next Neil and Buzz please stand up?