On This Day-One Giant Leap
It’s Sunday, 20 July 1969, City of Whittier,, Los Angeles County, California, we are all sitting around the TV, pizza and popcorn. It’s a little after 9pm PST, and we are about to see the Eagle land on the surface of the Moon. The anticipation of what was about to happen. I was into it because it was science not fiction. Star Trek Non Fictional version. My father was subdued and fidgety rather uncharacteristic, as he was always rather stoic or laughing, (3 stooges, Laurel & Hardy) brought me great joy when he laughed. But what got us here. Well one is this inspirational speech by President John F. Kennedy 12 Sept 1962, at Rice University, Houston, Tx.. Listen
About 400,000 people were involved just for the Apollo Lunar Mission program. JFK laid it all out, though he didn’t live to witness his dream, we did it. The video is an abridged version, but listen to the full version, this man had a vision and new what we were capable of and believed in it and America as a whole. He didn’t just say what we planned to do, he said this what we are going to do and we will do it. We will fly a man to the moon before the end of the decade. And then return them safely back to the Earth. It will be a banner of peace that will be placed on the Moon. That banner is still there, though Aldrin says he saw it toppled when the Lem lifted off. And though it is the flag of the United States that stands in 6 different locations on the Moon, not once did America claim the Moon to be American territory. The Moon belongs to all nations.
The Eagle detaches from the Columbia, rotates and starts it’s decent to the surface. It will be a 2 hour ride down to the Moon.
An image of the Columbia in orbit, image taken from the Eagle.
The Eagle Lands on Tranquility Base. Rather harrowing, but as usual the cool and collected Neil Armstrong guides the Eagle with instructions being called out by Buzz Aldrin.
I can hear dad say quietly we did it. I heard it and look back at him, he is in his recliner and then stands up, glowing again says my God we did it. And looks up I hope you saw that Mr President. My dad loved the Kennedy’s in fact both of my parents did. In fact I didn’t know anyone who didn’t. Since were off for the school break in summer I was allowed to stay up to watch the moon walk. So dad and watched with sheer fascination.
“One small step for [a] Man, One giant leap for Mankind”. The words of Neil Armstrong as he places his first step on the Moon.
20 minutes later Buzz Aldrin joins Armstrong, his words “Magnificent Desolation”. Armstrong takes most of the images on the surface. Nice shot of the Eagle.
At 9 years old I am not fully aware what it took to get these astronauts to the Moon. A couple of years around 67, my dad had a draftsman table in my parents bedroom. One Saturday he would bring work home, he stepped out to mow the lawn, (I think he needed a break), I wandered in and saw all the crumpled papers overflowing the waste basket. I was seven then I climbed up and too me what looked like Hieroglyphics (yeah right as if I new what that was) with arrows, numbers and all kinds of angles. Several years later I would ask my dad what that was striking up a conversation one day. Those were the plans of the Saturn V rocket designed by Werner Von Braun and his instructions to build the electronics. And also details of what kind of wire and conduit that will be suitable for space, does it even exist? Copper is heavy, gold even heavier. Micro fibers hasn’t been invented yet. Wow you met Werner Von Braun? yes he would come to our facility at times. He said it so ho hum, Thee Werner von Braun. I mentioned it had to be difficult, he laughs, and says you know how many times we said, back to the drawing board! like 100 times a day. I bet, I noticed your wastebasket and how full it was, you should seen all the wastebaskets at work they were emptied out and the papers burned 3 times a day. Most if not all the blue prints were classified. The Soviets were stealing all they can get there hands on. Most of it fake. Hopefully they didn’t realize it was. But I’m sure they did, they were pretty smart wise guys.
Buzz Aldrin famous visor shot by Neil Armstrong. And standing by the Eagle.
The Plaque that is attached to Eagle. Originally NASA wanted to put God on the plaque, but they were in the middle of a lawsuit by an Athiest after he complained about an earlier flight when one of the astronauts read a scripture out of Genesis. So they used AD “anno Domini, but it should have appeared ahead of the year not after, the year of our Lord 1969.
Aldrin by the Seismic monitor equipment
The Astronauts would spend 21 hours on the Moon and soon prepare to return to the Command Module Columbia. Extraordinary!
1 additional image. Click to enlarge.