By Tia Garrett
I was 8 ½ years old when men first walked on the moon. It was an exciting and turbulent time. Images of the Vietnam War and protests against it dominated the news. My Uncle Mike had been drafted, and Mom protected us from learning much about the horrors of war by turning off the national evening news most evenings.
My family did tune into Star Trek every week on our black and white Zenith TV. However, the Apollo 11 launch, landing and splashdown didn’t hold much interest. We didn’t gather around the TV for any of the events associated with the moon landing. Mom said it hadn’t been important to her. (She was getting ready for my sister’s birthday parties.) My sister just remembers that it occurred near the same time as the launch of her favorite TV show, the Partridge Family. David Cassidy was her interest, not astronauts. I on the other hand, was very interested in science and space.
As a fan, I watched shows of the astronauts training and the much of the pre-launch preparations. I remember a long delay during the launch sequence one day –waiting and waiting. When the launch finally occurred the next day, the Saturn V Rocket billowed an impressive amount of fire and steam. Walther Cronkite’s quavering voice narrated the images shown of the fuselage breaking away. I stayed glued to the T.V as they showed models and animated images of the rocket separation. I thrilled at the sight of the Apollo 11 moon landing, but to be honest I don’t know if it was in real time or a replay.
I do recall that the images of Neal Armstrong’s first step on the moon were blurry and that he nearly flubbed his now famous line “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” While waiting for the second half of that sentence I thought “I guess he should have written it on his space suit.” Yes, I can be a little snarky.
However, I was also deeply moved. Men had chosen a place called Tranquility, and they had placed a plaque saying, “We came in peace for all mankind.” We are still waiting for peace, but I believe dreams combined with action can still get us closer to a different world.