I thought it a beginning to a marvelous journey. Good times. Good times.
Do you remember today’s date, circa 1969? It was a big f**king deal, at the time. The nation was called America, and she was ready to land a human being on the moon, and then, and here was the trickiest part, bring him home again. It was not a sure thing.
I recall. I was a mid-teen, hormone-addled, horsepower obsessed young fellow at the time. But Space, oh my. Prattle on about exploring the poles. Yammer about darkest Africa or remote Amazon. It didn’t hold a candle to space exploration. Because friends and neighbors, if we could just get off this rock who knew what was there? What wonders to discover, what knowledge gained to advance the human race, what would we find?
We were going to go to the stars. After looking up for thousands of years we were finally reaching up. The first big step out the door on a journey with an unknown destination via as-yet-undesigned ships.
Do you comprehend what we were talking about? The FUTURE. A glorious potential, a chance to become more than what we were. I watched with my grandmother’s second husband, a tall, thin, spare man born in 1900. He’d seen air travel when it meant doped canvas and spruce wood and gasoline engines that may or may not continue running and now he was sitting and watching a man land on the moon. When we heard “The Eagle has landed” that old man clapped me on the back and said that he envied me and what I was going to see, and that he wished he was going to be alive to know…what?…what would we discover…what wonderful things would we learn?
We never contemplated that the future doesn’t always bring progress. That knowledge is power and that power corrupts and that the glory of Rome was followed by the Dark Ages and the Library of Alexandria was burned by ignorant barbarians who, barbarians they may have been but they were victorious barbarians and if you can’t create then you destroy and loot the creation of others.
But boys and girls let me tell you one thing…it was a glorious day, back in ’69. Right there on live TV, out in public where the whole world could see.
Oh look, the Kardashians are on.