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Footprints On The Moon: 1970s   11 comments

Posted at 12:03 am in commentary

I wrote this twenty years ago today (well, technically yesterday now):

Twenty years ago, a boy of eight sat in front of a decrepit black and white TV and tried to make out the suited figures walking across that desolate surface. If he thought hard he could remember Gemini. His father could remember Lindbergh. He couldn't appreciate how immeasurably far the world had come since Kitty Hawk, how impossibly great an effort had been expended since 1961, but he knew what was important and he was there watching. He heard the words that everyone knows, and he watched until that strange buglike craft lifted and returned the men whom history had just rendered immortal to their companion in orbit and from there back to the embrace of the mother planet. He knew where he was going when he grew up.

Twenty years later, when the future he had planned on has been bargained away, he's sure of fewer things. He does know that he had the privilege that July day in 1969, of living through the event to which all previous human history will be just a footnote. And he knows too that whatever else may happen, there will still be ...

footprints on the Moon.

Written by ted on July 21st, 2009

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11 Responses to 'Footprints On The Moon: 1970s'

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  1. I watched that same fuzzy black and white scene on a huge tv (25" !!) with about a hundred other Boy Scouts on a hot night at Camp Barstow.

    We cheered but were too young to appreciate what it had taken to make that scene happen, or how fine the line was between a triumph for all mankind and an embarrassing national disaster while the world watched.

    We cheered but were not surprised. We expected success. We expected our nation to do Great Things. We had been told all our young lives that anything was possible here in the land of opportunity if were smart and careful and kept in good graces with God, and this just proved it.

    I thought I was seeing the real beginning of something I had been told about all my life -- The Future! So why aren't we all living lives of ease while robots and computers take care of us? Why isn't Columbia enclosed in a climate-controlled dome? WHERE"S MY FLYING CAR?

    Dennis

    21 Jul 09 at 7:51 am

  2. I was twelve years old that night I stayed up late to watch Armstrong set foot on the moon. Armed with my trusty b&w polaroid camera, I took a fuzzy picture of a fuzzy picture. Which is still laying around here somewhere.

    Kinda like our dreams of what we thought the future would bring following the moon missions. I agree with Dennis. As a twelve year old kid my hopes were constantly being built up for that wonderful universe that awaited us. Time has past & now those dreams are just 'laying around somewhere' like my picture. Fuzzy & faded.

    Buzz Aldrin was making the rounds on tv this weekend, C-Span & TCM, etc. After all these years he still seems truly inspired & even has his own plan for continued space exploration.

    Sadly, I think he is preaching to the choir. I'm afraid that Americans, like the Romans before us, just want to be entertained until the bitter end.

    John R

    21 Jul 09 at 9:14 am

  3. Oddly, I remember nothing about the first Moon landing, or any of the moonwalks. I remember watching the launches, the simulated separations, and the pickups. But no moonwalks. I do remember other people's comments about them, like one uncle talking about how he was concerned about the fuel supply on one landing (don't recall which). An aunt who commented on Shepard's golf comment "miles and miles." And a local general store employee who, in reference to the Lunar Rover being left behind, saying "Eight million dollars!"

    badger

    21 Jul 09 at 9:43 am

  4. I thought that what you wrote was beautiful and I'm not sure if this is the right word.... wistful. :) Thanks for posting that.

    Melanie Gallant

    25 Jul 09 at 2:52 pm

  5. Thanks Melanie!

    ted

    26 Jul 09 at 12:26 am

  6. I remember watching that broadcast on a 12" black and white portable TV. It was about 11:00pm at night wasn't it? I was ten years old and we had gotten take out hot dogs from a restaurant built around an old gas station at the corner of Harden and Rosewood. It was stuccoed to look like a castle on the outside and there were tables attached to the old car-lifts that allowed the bravest customers to rise up while eating! Think it was called Frankenstein's Castle but not sure about that...

    Ned Harkey

    24 Dec 11 at 12:42 pm

  7. marvelous recollection that makes us all wistful for those sweet times

    Thanks, Ted, for bringing back those memories

    mamarose

    25 Aug 12 at 4:53 pm

  8. I'm still upset that our so called leaders threw away our scientific endeavors on other planets to fund The Great Society.

    tonkatoy

    27 Aug 12 at 6:39 am

  9. I'm with Dennis on the flying car. I once say an episode of The Simpsons depecting personal air vehicles and they had the old Eastern airlines logo on them which tells me they've been dreamed of since at least the 1980s. I have family in Richmond that I could envision going up for things like games, dance recitals, etc. a little more. I also think I could enjoy traveling tthe country in a cost-effective manner.

    I also recall a special WIS ran in the latter weeks of 1999 called Carolina 2000 in which they spoke of cars that drive themselves at the speed limit. My late grandmother said that she heard that decades prior. They also spoke of appliances being able to contact the repair man themselves over the internet.

    Andrew

    27 Aug 12 at 10:56 am

  10. We were supposed to have flying cars by the 1980's, according to a lot of future predictions made in the 30's - 50's.

    Dave

    27 Aug 12 at 2:58 pm

  11. tonkatoy

    28 Aug 12 at 6:29 am

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