Dreams in the night sky

Posted by Ken Campbell July 21, 2009 0 Comment 650 views

On July 16, 1969, three men shuffled off the boring constraints of gravity and rode a giant candle to their date with destiny. Luna. The moon. Just nine years earlier, President John F. Kennedy had promised that by the end of the decade the country would put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth. The actual landing came about on July 20, 1969, making Kennedy’s pledge a reality with just a few months to spare.

I remember where I was. I was six years old (almost seven, dammit), and living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. We didn’t have a TV so my parents had arranged for us to be at Alice Walters’ house for the event, up on the hill by the Fisheries College. It was a warm evening in St. John’s, and I remember being outside, playing in the lot across the street, when my father called me back over. I recall going into Mrs. Walters’ living room, watching the strange looking men in shiny suits bounce awkwardly on the screen. I remember the scratchy audio, “One small step for man…”

I went back outside at some point. It was a long time ago and the details are a little fuzzy, but I remember looking up at the moon in the dark North Atlantic sky, trying to reconcile the images on the screen with that glowing disc so impossibly far away. I went home and immediately made plans to be an astronaut. That was 40 years ago, tonight.

Where were you?

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