The Man on the Moon, 20-21 July 1969

11 07 2009

I was in kindergarten at the end of a decade of both hope and despair. It had been a traumatic decade for Singapore, with its merger with the Federation of Malay States and its subsequent independence, racially motivated disturbances and the news of the intended pull out of British forces to cope with – not that I was old enough to remember any of that.

The world itself had its fair share of earth moving events – the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers, Prague Spring, the student riots in France, the leap at altitude by Bob Beamon that stood as a long jump world record for 23 years, the Cultural Revolution in China, and much closer to home, the war in Indochina.

There were events that I would remember on a personal level: moving to Toa Payoh; the birth of my sister; our first telephone; watching my hero Vic Morrow on Combat – the theme music of which still rings in my head. What was possibly the event that caught my imagination was man setting foot on the moon on 21 July 1969 (the actual landing was on 20 July 1969 US time). I recall the sense of anticipation which gripped my family, my father in particular in the days leading up to the launching of Apollo 11 and to the eventual “one small step for man”.  For weeks after, many of my friends in kindergarten and I were caught up in the excitement of the event. Having watched the delayed footage on the evening newsreel on TV,  we lived the moment out in the games that we played; building make believe rockets, marked out on the floor with building blocks … counting down the moment to blast off. For maybe a half year after, the heroes I worshipped were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

Capturing the Historic Moment Down Under

Capturing the Historic Moment Down Under

View from Eugene Oregon

View from Eugene Oregon

Some clips related to Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon:

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/a11/a11v_1092338.mpg
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/ktclips/ap11_armstrong.mpg
http://161.115.184.211/teague/apollo/audio/ap11_17_One_Small_Step.mp3

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One response

21 07 2011
Walter

Thanks for blogging about this significant and monumental period in the history of mankind. Somehow, the latest Transformers movie resurrected this interest in the whole Apollo 11 and first man walking on the Moon memory.

The saddest thing in my opinion is that after so many decades of scientific and technological progress, the US, Russia, China and other “powerhouses” around the world have almost given up the ghost on space exploration. We haven’t progressed much in this area, beyond 1969.

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