When we walked on the moon
Those of us of a certain age have the memories.
I was 10 years old at sleep away camp. I remember them bringing us into the rec hall to watch on the black and white televisions. I can’t tell you whether it was live or a replay, but they wanted us to see it. At that age it didn’t mean much, then.
It means so much more now, when I think where we are as a country.
In this moment of remembrance on the death of Neil Armstrong, I’m actually quite sad. And not just because of his death.
Added: A family friend worked at Grumman on Long Island, which built the landing module. He gave us a really detailed model of the landing module, about 8 inches high on a circular board with the Grumman and NASA insignias. I kept it for many years, but don’t have it any more.
Here’s the image of the model:
This video is quite good:
Why I’m so sad:
Free contraception is the new moon landing
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I missed the moon landing by 11 days. My dad worked for NASA at the time and was stationed in Spain helping with communication between Apollo 11 and, well, Earth. When the astronauts toured all the NASA sites a few years later, my brothers and I were fortunate enough to meet Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
[…] he did on the moon that July of 1969 that we should remember. Today it is important to acknowledge the other great gift Neil Armstrong gave us, something now abandoned – dignity and a model of […]
The landing on the Moon was a few years before I made my entrance, but when I first read about it as a kid, I was amazed. My parents took me to Cape Kennedy twelve years after that happened: the curiosity and willingness to achieve great things in space was so high in that place, that even eight-year-old me noticed.
Neil Armstrong’s name will always be remembered – unto the ending of the world. He should be given a state funeral to never be forgotten.
As long as there is a curiosity and willingness to go “where no one has gone before”, there will be astronauts, engineers, astronomers, physicists… As long as there’s curiosity, there will always be Science. There will be more like him in the future. Count on it.
Don’t let idiots dampen or discourage you.
“Stay curious.” – Steve Jobs
It was the summer after my freshman year at Cornell. I was on vacation with my family in California. We actually watched it on a TV at DisneyLand. I feel exactly like you do, Professor. How this country has changed and not for the better.
See, this is the problem with being a conservative. Always looking back, standing athwart history and saying, uh, “Yeah, let’s do more of that sort of thing.”
Okay, never mind.
But take solace, professor. Our president has announced that he is going to send a spermatozoa to Sandra Fluke’s uterus and return it safely to its donor’s penis by the end of the democratic convention–all at no cost to her. Ah, progress.
What normal man could pass the simulator tests without being incapacitated with nausea?
And the G-forces that would have to be endured finding the G-spot to her satisfaction in search of the outer reaches of manned orgasmic exploration.
Would the rocker even launch?
“Attention: Splint needed on the launching pad. Stet.”
Or “stat”. Sorry, professional error.
And blindfold and earplugs, too.
And a Playboy and vial.
I just don’t think I have the Right Stuff for Sandra Fluke.
You, on the other hand …
“I was 10 years old at sleep away camp.”
I was in college (and had worked for a couple of years after high school before going). You make me feel old. 🙁
Back on point, RIP, Mr. Armstrong. You touched our hearts and spirits, and touched the face of God.
We stayed up late to watch the Moon landing live. Our black and white TV was tiny, a ten incher, but still we could make out objects and watch as Cmdr. Armstrong stepped onto the Moon.
After a few more landings, the country stopped doing anything of value in space and that’s a great shame that needs to be rectified.
Some say the moon landing was the pinnacle of America as a nation.
As a man, into the heavens he flew. To see and to behold the wonders and splendor of Creation in a way few have done was his privilege. May the Lord G_D, bless His holy name, grant Neil Armstrong rest and peace.
May the Lord G_D, bless His holy name
Yet, you’re ashamed to type his name? What?
There is a long tradition in many cultures and faith traditions of not writing the Creator’s name completely so as not to occasion any disrespect or desecration. Let’s say you print this out and sometime it ends up in the garbage. His name does not belong in the garbage. It’s not shame, far from it, which is why some do not write it completely in the first place.
I’m sad too.
Seems like this passing is symbolic of the passing Of American accomplishment.
I was 7. Never forget standing in front of the tv (getting hollered at for standing too close–as usual–YOU’LL GET CANCER!)–thinking “How can there be a man on the moon??”
I don’t think later generations quite grasp the significance of the United States of America put a man on a place that had only been gazed upon in the darkness of the night since sky since the beginning of all mankind.
Neil Alden Armstrong deserves nothing less than a full State Funeral.
Anything less cheapens his accomplishment, and America’s.
My mother woke me up so I could watch Armstrong make his first step on the Moon (One giant leap for somebody or other). The TV was on top of my mother’s upright piano, which seemed a long way up to me.
I was a life long science fiction fan. I wasn’t extremely excited. I had always known we would get there. Nowadays, looking back, I see I was quite optimistic.
Neil Armstrong was always one of my heroes. I wish we had more like him.
1. Hopefully he is living a higher life.
2. Let’s name a major facility after him: a major facility on the Moon.
3. It’s too bad he didn’t live to see us return to stay. However, a return is in the cards, via the private sector if not by the government. Presumably he realized that.
(And if America doesn’t go back, other nations are on the way. I hope we continue to lead human progress, but whether or not we do, it’s essential that humanity get off-planet.)
4. I watched the landing during my military service. Planning graduate study in STEM, I felt like a small drop in the wave that carried Armstrong aloft.
(GOP Convention postponed 1 day-Fox News)
That’s good. People should stay safe.
In the meantime, it gives the GOP and others time to plan counterattacks against the mob of terrorist-wannabes to show up in Tampa for murder and mayhem.
I watched those first steps at a neighbors house. As I was walking home, the moon was out and I remember just stopping and staring in awe that there really were Americans walking around up there! How proud I was! I distinctly remember thinking how I could tell my grandchildren all about it.
And I did.
I was 10 years old, too. I was going to the beach every day, trying to get permission (always rejected) for Susie Cowsill to go with me.
“It means so much more now, when I think where we are as a country.
In this moment of remembrance on the death of Neil Armstrong, I’m actually quite sad. And not just because of his death.”
—Yep. More and more what seemed, at the time, to be one small step for a self-confident America, now looks like one giant leap we’re no longer capable of.
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone”
I was a few years ahead of you, Professor! But I was completely captivated by the space program all along. The moon landing cemented my desire to join the military and become a pilot, and the examples of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins helped me find models for grace, integrity and excellence, although I wouldn’t have consciously described them as such at the time.
As for the comment above chiding conservatives for always looking backward, I challenge that paradigm– what we truly do is look and ‘hold fast to that which is good’ and seek to build an even better future on strong foundations.
Your post also made me nostalgic for the days when the NYT was worthy of lengthy attention…
As we mourn the remarkable man known as Neil Armstrong, I remain confident there are others like him among us, ready for great things. Curiosity on Mars reminds us of at.
This should have been the first thing posted:
Neil Armstrong One Small Step
Space beeps! Always loved those satellite beeps. At some point later in the Apollo program there was a local phone number we could call to listen to mission control. Dad never complained, but we must have run up some bill….
Thank you Browdog. I remember thinking at the time. 3 men , 250,000 miles away , alone. On the surface they came in a craft made from not much more than reenforced tinfoil. When it blasted off back to the command modual it destroyed the bulk of the lander that was left behind. I suspect the part of the lander that took them back to the command modual could have been crushed into a 55 gallon drum. I think it was left behind when they returned to earth. Never before or since has the world been as united as the period leading up to the landing till the lander recoupled with the modual. Never before or since have men been so far from home. Never before have men been so alone with biiiions watching. For all my problems with John Kennedy that vision makes him a great President. Those astronauts won the lottery of world history. They will forever be a breed apart. Their name in history will be spelled Neil Armstrong.
Out of curiosity…
I went to Daily Kos to see how the libs are reacting.
I’m proud to report there is no difference between the comments posted there, and on conservative sites.
I remember it as if it was yesterday, we were so afraid something would go wrong, sitting on the edge of our seats! Such an amazing accomplishment, exemplified what America represented. We WILL regain that yearning to be exceptional!
Long time ago when we was fab.
I remember as well. Everyone huddled up in front of that huge 24″ RCA Color TV..if you were lucky..and being struck by the enormity of it all. Not to mention the guys that flew the missions back then with computerization about equal to what we find in cellphones today.
Those guys…sheesh…were the “cowboys” of the century.
Amazing how its all changed.
Some will recall this as well
Cell phones today are probably more advanced. My dad’s last duty station with NASA was as a computer geek working on one of their most advanced computers. Not sure what he was doing, but the computer was in an ice cold trailer. There were number of those old punched paper tape reading computers whizzing away.
The passing of an era of setting targets beyond what you could imagine. The passing of a man who didn’t give kudos to his crew, to NASA, or even to the government. He gave the credit to the American people, the spirit, and the ingenuity.
If you haven’t seen it, watch “The Right Stuff.” Excellent movie (based on Tome Wolfe’s book) about the early days of the space program.
When I was living in Japan, I was friends with a British fellow who watched it and exclaimed, “It made me proud to be an American!”
Neil Armstrong seemed ageless and almost eternal.
Perhaps because he was a symbol of our national greatness, and of the aspirations of humanity. The name of Neil Armstrong will endure as long as our civilization shall last, and as long as the human spirit aspires to great things.
FAMILY STATEMENT REGARDING THE DEATH OF NEIL ARMSTRONG
I was like everyone else then – in total awe of what was being accomplished. I was on the edge of my chair barely breathing so I wouldn’t miss anything. Everyone of course was wondering what his first words were going be. That had been discussed for weeks. The 60’s were tumultuous years, and this was one of the few joyful events that united us as a Nation.
We walked on the moon 6 times. The public was bored of it by the 2nd mission.
But they just can’t get enough of “reality” shows where washed-up former celebrities argue.
I was in first grade when Sputnik was launched, and a few weeks past high school graduation when Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. The astronauts were my heroes all through elementary and high school, and my inspiration to attend engineering school. I have had the privilege of encouraging other young people to aim high through volunteering at one of the McAuliffe Centers, but unfortunately there is isn’t much excitement about the space program in young people today. An unmanned rover on Mars isn’t as attention grabbing as a live person on the moon. And the “instant gratification generation” can’t get all hyped up about a manned mission to Mars that might not even happen in their lifetime. Kennedy’s challenge to get to the moon in a decade kept the excitement palpable for us.
Could you be sad about having a President that is trying to sell our birthright for a mess of stew?
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie McGee
I was at Boy Scout camp and they brought us all up to the dining hall to watch. It is sad that we have set our sight so low. Sandra Fluke is the new Neil Armstrong.
I was about 12 when sputnik went up. It changed the world. We had yet to get a tv ,one channel had just become available to our small town. I was an old 22 when we landed on the moon. I then thought by now we would have a facility on the moon and man would have landed on Mars. Then anything seemed possible. In the past hour there was an Obama ad with an endorsement by nonprofit AARP lieing about Obamacare. There was another holding out Planned Parenthood as a paragone of womans health. Half the country will believe these lies. Then was then ; now is now. RIP Neil , the country dies a little with your passing.
One of the fondest memories of my young childhood was watching the moon landing on TV. On our black and white TV. The whole family gathered around, completely in awe.
Rest in peace, Mr. Armstrong. Pioneers like you will not be forgotten.
USA! USA! USA!
We can recover, but it will require a restoration of discipline. We need an equal application of the rule of law. We need to reject dreams of instant gratification, especially through involuntary exploitation (i.e. redistributive change), which only engender progressive corruption. We need to recognize that evolutionary principles are inviolable and promote the value of human life, from conception to grave. If we desire liberty, then we must be capable of self-moderating behavior. We need to end policies which distort our economy, culture, and government, and give incentive to progressive corruption.
We can dream the big dreams, again, but not while we have a culture which engenders dysfunctional development and progressive corruption.
My dad worked for NASA, as I child I got to meet most of the Apollo crews (back then it was, we have to behave again!) A few years back, my dad had not long to live, and as I sat talking with him, he told me of this great American and how he respected him. RIP and thank you.
After all these years,it’s still amazing. And after all these years, only the US has done it.
We’re all sad. And fighting mad. Don’t forget that part, my friend.
In those days, we produced great men. Even in the Democratic Party. You can’t imagine Obama uttering the words Kennedy did. Kennedy had, at the very least, the vision to believe that the United States could make it to the moon. Obama’s vision is to destroy any sense of achievement and morale this country has, to turn us into Belgium.
When we are free to build great things again, we will be great men again. But not until then.
My mom woke us up; we watched on our new Zenith color TV. I remember the now-so-primitive subtitle “Men Walk on Moon”,with the word “moon” blinking. My future dh was in south Florida visiting his Aunt; he saw the Saturn 5 rocket take off from a distance, but unmistakable.
I want to play with Major Matt Mason. We all knew these days would come, when these Heroes would leave us. I like to imagine the conversation with Gallileo, Einstein…
Well done, good and faithful servant. And I’ll say that for Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, too.
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I was in Infantry OCS at Ft. Benning. Being junior candidates at that time, we were not allowed to use the tv in the day room, but the cadre allowed it for that occasion.
Damn, we thought. Those guys are something.
As great as walking on the moon was, I think Armstrong’s even greater accomplishment was landing Eagle, despite boulders in the landing area, indication of a worsening fuel state and a complete failure of critical computers at NASA at JSC. Armstrong, with Aldrin watching the instruments and calling altitude, flew the LEM, like the pilot he was.
He also broadcast the first word from the surface of the moon: “Houston…”
He’s now on the greatest journey of all…
Obama will probably step on the occasion to claim that we only got there because we stole Muslim science and technology. (We “colonialists” didn’t build that, either) He did reportedly task NASA with making Muslims feel better about themselves.
So true though, our current president seems intent on using class warfare to bring us down to the level of third world nations. Obama is clueless about what made America great. Hugo Chavez is his hero, Sandra Fluke plants are his foot soldiers, phonies like Warren are his generals.
Fundamental transformation of our great country makes him a god to the left, until the realities of that settle in. Then Obama will be remembered as a tinpot dictator wannabe, preferably remembered as the climax of the left’s failed coup attempt.
Removing Obama is an early term abortion I can believe in. 🙂
A little late, but I just saw this on FR. http://www.soopermexican.com/2012/08/26/obama-remembers-neil-armstrong-with-a-big-picture-of-himself/
I was 13 yrs old, already long a science nerd, nailed to the B&W for every possible minute of the whole four day journey there, sleeping on a blanket 2 ft in front of the TV the final night, relevant science textbooks and encyclopedias arrayed around me on the floor.
I remember battles with siblings over the dial in our one-TV home, especially those first few nights, decided in my favor by parents who understood the moment. It became moot, as eventually every channel, even CKLW out of Canada, turned its lens skyward.
I recall being so sleepy my eyes burned, but unable to turn away, particularly during those agonizing 6 hrs after ‘the eagle had landed’ but before Armstrong stepped out and into the history books.
I remember the wonderful burn of pride in my chest to be an American, an earthling – a term that now held discretionary meaning because a precedent was set: sentient beings had proved they could leave their home worlds – proud even to be a human being, given this monumental achievement.
I remember the numbing depression of sequential failures in my early twenties, when an injury ended my ice hockey playing days, a year’s rehab later to cause my failures to pass entry physicals for the Air Force, then the Navy – anyone who flew, I tried to join, to no avail. The final failure – I could not pass the physical many years later for even a civilian pilot’s license.
I remember decades later when anniversaries of the Apollo 11 moon landing hit the news, in 1989, 1999, 2009, and my kids asked if I had seen it. I’d more than seen it, I told them. I went with them, flew every mile, sailed every orbit, kicked the dust and stuck my flag with them. I was there, I told my kids. I was there.
You know whom Neil Armstrong is up there with now, right?
Yep: Andy Kaufmann.
I am hearing a call for a state funeral for Neil Armstrong. If it doesn’t happen we should take it upon ourselves to do some sort of national display of honoring him. The day of the funeral we could all put flags out and drive with headlights on.