Monday, July 21, 2008

Hey Up There - Good Job


It's just a year shy of the 40th anniversary, but as each July rolls past I still marvel at what some bold and brave and ingenious folks did back in the summer of 1969.

Their actions were not swaddled in safety, they took risks beyond imagining.

I recall most vividly watching the blurry black and white images flickering on television, feeling the tension of all who were with me (my family and some friends), tension which engulfed us one and all.

After I had watched their amazing and tentative steps for some several minutes, I went outside and looked up into the sky. It was a very humid night and I recall wondering how many other people all across our own planet were also looking up as well.. I did not know then, as I do know, that the two men landing on the Moon for the first time touched down on the surface with bare seconds of fuel left, or that Commander Neil Armstrong had taken manual control of his craft and steered his frail ship with steel-strong courage to complete his mission.

I stared upwards for a long time and then, being just a wee child, I decided to wave up at the sky and say "Hey up there. Good job." And I was pretty sure that even if they could not hear me, I liked thinking that much of the world was doing the same thing. The footprints I made that night in the thick grass of the backyard disappeared moments after I made them. The footprints they made did not.

I continue to admire Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and the handful of other explorers who also made the journey there and back again. And for some odd reason, I am proud that one of those first two explorers was named "Buzz". It was as if it somehow brought outer space closer to home, and took home out into space.

So cheers to these men, and to all those who helped achieve that moment in history. Thanks for your courage.

UPDATE: I was reminded by this recent post from the one and only Squirrel Queen that you can add your name to a giant list of names which NASA is sending to the moon. No, really. Add your name by July 25 at this link. I added mine gladly.

SQ writes on her post on this topic: "
NASA is now allowing folks to submit their John Hancock to a database which will be placed on a microchip and put on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, spacecraft. The LRO will be in orbit around the big green cheese in the sky for many years."

So now I am a bit closer the surface than I have ever been. And what a fine way to observe the anniversary for the first lunar landing by humans.

6 comments:

Squirrel Queen said...

Amazing what they accomplished with the technology they had then. Guts, pure and simple.
That is if you believe, NASA actually sent people to the moon (she typed while wearing a pyramid of aluminum foil on top of her head.)
Some funny space conspiracy theory videos for you here.
http://www.popfi.com/2008/07/13/google-moon-exposes-nasas-secret/

Joe Powell said...

those conspiracy folks sure have some stamina in their stupidity - 'cause, you know, we faked it SIX times.

Squirrel Queen said...

If you clicked on the PopFi link, there's one clip of Buzz punching one of the conspiracy guys for bugging him on a sidewalk. KAPOW! in the kisser. And he looked to be about 800 years old when he throws that whopper of a punch.

Joe Powell said...

oh mighty SQ, thanks for reminding me to mention your recent post on sending my name to orbit the moon. this post here has been updated accordingly. so now we is (or will be)fellow travelers into the vastness of space. yay us!

Squirrel Queen said...

To infinity (or at least in orbit around the moon) and beyond.

OXYMORON said...

"Hits all a durn lie. If'n the Good Lord hat ment us to go to ther moon, he'ed put a ladder up thare, yu ignerant fool"

As best I can recall, that's what my neighbor, Bill Nickols told me. Since he spoke as if he talked to the Good Lord often or at least every time he drank, I didn't really dispute his word.
Existence seemed so open ended then, without limits, with the vision of the future pushed beyond the boundaries of ones own lifetime and you just knew someone would see the face of God one day.
But we chose to build the helicopters and make the guns.
So it goes.