Up There

July 20, 2019

BW photograph of blurred clouds on a very windy morning.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Today, July 20, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon.

In 1969, my aunt and uncle managed a drive-in movie establishment.  During that summer, my grandparents and I would awaken on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings to clean up the debris left behind by the customers as it was commonplace for people to simply drop their trash on the ground and drive away-the environmental movement had yet to really take hold and recycling was unheard of.  Given the family connections, it also meant that I could go to the movies, I think, for free.  One of the other benefits was being able to sit in the projection booth and watch as those giant reels of film (remember that?) unspooled their imagery onto the screen.

(As an aside, Hurricane (Tropical Storm) Agnes destroyed that drive-in 1972.)

We were there on July 20, 1969 watching The Green Berets, a movie steeped in propaganda as the war in Vietnam was not going well, when it was announced over the speakers that Neil Armstrong had made those historic steps.  While the significance of that moment did not really register then, I remember the clapping and cheers that arose from the darkened vehicles.  It was quite a moment.

Looking up, it is still difficult to imagine what it took to make those steps happen.  For example, watch Apollo 13.  (I have not seen First Man.)  There is a scene where the flight engineers use slide rules to make their calculations.  I had a slide rule and never did learn how to use it effectively.  Today, smart phones have more capability than the computers NASA also used to make the Apollo program as successful as it was.  The average automobile has more wiring and electronics than did the lunar module.  Such capability is taken for granted and there is a quest for ever greater technological advances.

That quest, though, is part of what spurred the space program.  Most importantly, it was also a race to beat the Soviets to the moon-Sputnik was a significant event putting that race into motion.  That the U.S. and Russia continue to be adversaries demonstrates that some things do not really change.  Today, there are several countries vying for a return to the moon-some to use it as a way station on the journey to Mars.

Go outside tonight and look to the moon…imagine…

Take care.

PSYC 101 NOTE:  The ability to remember where one was and what was happening when meaningful events occurred is referred to as episodic memory-more about that here.

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