athelind: (Eye of the Sky God)
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What's the first major news event that you remember hearing about as a child? Where did you learn about it? How did it impact your world view?

The Vietnam War wasn't really an event when I was a child: it was simply another fact of existence. It was always there, always part of adult conversation, always part of my father. I don't actually remember the period that my father was in Vietnam, or even when he came home, but for as long as I can remember, his time there has been one of the defining attributes of his personality.

The first event -- or series of events -- that I really remember as news stories would have to be the Apollo flights, and I learned about those by having my mother bundle me up in front of the TV and watch every single manned flight.


Let's see if LJ will recognize its own template if I cross-post from DW...
athelind: (Default)
In the wake of columnist and Nixon speechwriter William Safire's death, here is the speech that he wrote for the President to read in the event that the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the Moon.

It's surreal to read this today; earlier this morning, I found the lyrics to "The Green Hills of Earth" running through my head:

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.


Strange to think what might have been, and, thankfully, was not.


Does anyone know where to find MP3 or video of a decent filksinger performing "Green Hills of Earth"? The only ones I could find today were, frankly, terrible.
athelind: (Eye of the Sky God)
This is making the rounds of my Friends List; for those who haven't seen it yet, it's my turn to share.







I always said that Unca Carl was a poet.


athelind: (Default)
I just spoke to my mother on the phone, and she had her own memories of the landing.

"We all sat up and watched every minute of the landing. People asked me later, 'how could you let your children stay up until all hours like that?' And I'd answer, 'how could I not?'"
athelind: (Default)
I've missed too many of these, I fear. For the fortieth anniversary of man's first landing on another celestial body, I started planning more than a week ago. Rather than lean on my usual hymn to the Apollo astronauts, I was going to post footage of Walter Cronkite, and his reaction to the landing. On Thursday, the avuncular delivery of The Most Trusted Man In America was a significant part of my post reflecting back on the launch of Apollo 11. I even uploaded a special icon for the occasion.

And then, on Friday, Mr. Cronkite passed away, making my plans both more appropriate and more poignant.

Back to you, Walter.







athelind: (Default)

Walter Cronkite, Dead at 92



The man they called The Most Trusted Man in America -- and really, has anyone else come along worthy of the title come along since he retired? -- died today, in the middle of the the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that he covered so memorably.

He was a journalist, by God, and there are damned few of them left today, in the mainstream media or on the net.

The nation whose population depends on the explosively compressed headline service of television news can expect to be exploited by the demagogues and dictators who prey upon the semi-informed. -- Walter Cronkite, 1996


Good night, Uncle Walter.


athelind: (Default)
It was a Wednesday. I was 5.

This was the fourth time I'd watched one of those impossibly immense Saturn Vs lift off from Cape Kennedy. My mother insisted on watching every televised moment she could of those flights, and I was right there beside her, as much as I could. During 9 and 10, the school was dutifully notified that I was staying home, sick; I suspect that "Moon Flu" was a common strain in 1969.

I remember -- or I think I remember -- Walter Cronkite's deep, reassuring voice; I've heard it so many times since that I can't really be sure if I remember it from the broadcast, or from the LP record that CBS released and I played regularly through the '70s. I do remember, vividly, the NASA animations that played over his descriptions of the various stages of the launch and the space flight, precise and technically detailed cut-outs that would nonetheless seem crude by today's standards.

I remember the official NASA release images my father, a newspaperman, brought home, the flimsy thermal paper just off the facsimile machine, already browning. Somewhere, I may still have a notebook full of them, mostly from Apollo 13's ill-fated flight; they were in my possession as recently as my days at Cal State Monterey Bay.

I remember the excitement, the tension. I knew, even at the age of 5, that I was witnessing the single most important event of the century, the single most important event of human history.

Forty years ago today, three men leapt off the edge of the world into the Black.

I was watching.

athelind: (Default)




Forty years ago, I was bundled in front of the television, the excitement of Christmas almost forgotten as I watched the grainy footage being transmitted from more than two hundred thousand miles away -- the farthest any human being had ever been from our world.

Though only three men were there to see that Earthrise with human eyes, on that Christmas Eve so long ago, all of us, every one, touched the sky.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, raise a toast this e'en to Apollo 8 and her crew, Borman, Lovell and Anders.

To boldly go.


athelind: (Default)
It doesn't matter if you call it Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veteran's Day.

It doesn't matter what you think of the current war, or war in general.

What matters is that every day, there are those who put their lives on the line for others, on the battlefield or on the streets, in raging fires or in the face of raging storms, or striving to reach beyond the sky.

Some of them don't come back. Some of them do.

Honor them all. They've honored you.


athelind: (Default)
(Alas, this poor post, wonderful as it is, will forever be forgotten, overwhelmed by the events immediately following it.)





The Earth and Moon -- as seen from Mars.



Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet,
Up leaps the race of Earthmen,
Out, far, and onward yet...



athelind: (Default)
20 July 1969

We Came in Peace For All Mankind. )

March 2010

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