40 Years Ago Today

On July 20, 1969, I was seven years old and watched the moon landing and moon walk at my Aunt Florence’s house in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

What do I remember?

  • Flying from Dallas to Fort Lauderdale with my mother on an Eastern Air Lines flight and eating a corned beef sandwich en route. First one ever (corned beef sandwich, that is).
  • It seemed like we waited forever for the astronauts actually to leave the lunar module once it had landed on the moon. I was seven and wanted to go to sleep. Aunt Florence was 92 and wanted to go to sleep. My mother was in her prime and outlasted us all.
  • Aunt Florence — maybe because she was so tired? — told us she thought the previous Apollo flight was more remarkable than the landing because it sent back pictures of the dark side of the moon. Huh.

The week’s Time magazine has an intriguing article on the post-flight lives of the men who went to the moon. How did they literally and figuratively ever “come back to earth”?

Finally, this thought. In 2009, we would regard the technology of 1969 as positively archaic. No personal computers, no flat screen TVs, no cell phones, and no iPods. And yet they did this?! When the math and science had to be perfect or the men would never get to the moon much less come back?

Maybe they just harnessed all the high tech know-how into things that really mattered.