Where were you 40 years ago when a couple of brave (or crazy) guys got it in their heads that it would be a good idea to leave the safety of a tin can in space and walk on the moon?
I know where I was — sitting on the floor in front of our black and white TV watching the action.
I was just a little kid, six years old, but my father made a point of getting me from wherever I was (sleeping? probably) and sitting me down in front of the television to watch history in the making. My memories of the moment are pretty intermixed. On the one hand, I have a very strong feeling of portent and import that my father was positively radiating. In fact, I have better memories of his reaction than the actual moonwalk. He was beside himself.
The neatest part of all these pictures is that Pop had the thought to have me put my hand up to the screen. How cool is that? Proof that I was there, but also, a little bit of something else a precursor to E.T., maybe a symbolic gesture that my future, the future of my generation, was on that screen.
In retrospect, I imagine that he followed the whole space program with the nerd appeal of any Star Wars fan, only back then, it was the real deal, not digital playing around. He was a fan of Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, so I bet his fanboy joy at these events was impossible to contain.
I remember how the images were flickering across the screen and how weirdly tinny the voices were. I remember the awe of adults, although in my youthfulness, really didn’t grasp that what I was watching was the impossible made possible by resolve and sheer guts. It’s a powerful lesson and one I couldn’t have articulated then, but certainly understand now.
Thanks, Pop, for dragging my little butt into the future, and showing me that possibility is much greater than the limitations we create for ourselves out of fear or failing to dream.