Friday, July 20, 2007

38 Years Ago Today

It was a pleasant summer night in Bellevue, Washington 38 years ago today. We had a tv set up in the "carport", out by the pool, so we could watch the first moon landing. Yes, it was a giant step for man, and I remember that night so vividly as we got chills when seeing the moon's surface. People gathered their friends and families for that momentous event and it was all people were talking about, in person and in the media.
Later, in college, I had a chance to work for NASA as a tour guide for a traveling exhibit of previous space capsules and related stuff. The school kids always asked the same question first --- "how do the astronauts go to the bathroom?" But, as years went by, interest in watching the blastoffs or landings dwindled. I remember being the only one getting up in the middle of the night at my sorority to watch a moonwalk; I was also the only one that got up to make sure Ted Bundy was executed as he had terrorized us on our campus.
It was costly, and I cannot dispute that there are many needed uses for the large amount of resources expended on the Space Program. It is important to see where we (us, on our planet) fit into the grander universe, like the line describing Grover's Corners place in scheme of things in "Our Town," -- something like our house, our town.....expanding into the great unknown.
Perhaps the moon landings were a part of the'60's -- a time we look back on and can remember fondly, trying to explain those "old days" to our kids who only think of "The Beatles," hippies, anti-war protests and tie-dye clothing. Maybe that fascination with how our planet fit into the solar system and beyond sparked my interest in preserving the planet and environmentalism. Never thought of that connection before...