Thursday, July 20, 2006

One Giant Leap

Do you know where you were 37 years ago today? If you’re forty-something or older, you bet you do. You were glued to the television – any television you could find – as a never-before drama unfolded a quarter of a million miles away. For us on the East coast it meant staying awake so late we were guaranteed to have brain fog the next day. So what? We were watching history.

Back then, every rocket launch had full, many hours long network TV coverage. We were mesmerized by space travel. It was so new, so Twilight Zone. That night we saw John Kennedy’s challenge met – our men walked on the moon – and Americans were proud again. We were still stinging from Russia’s Sputnik success in the 50’s, but Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin's footprints in moon dust stomped that Red Bear.

Today a space shuttle launch or landing barely rates 20 seconds on the evening news, sandwiched between eternal strife in the Middle East and equally eternal strife in Washington. I’m glad I’ve lived to see space travel become so common place. I hope I live long enough to see peace.

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