Today… not so much… but back then, oh yes, something indeed.
I was a 9 year old boy, living in Spain with my Spanish grandparents (Dad was stationed in nearby Torrejon Air Base, my birthplace) and I distinctly remember being awakened to join the entire family in watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon while Michael Collins orbited above them, awaiting their safe return to the Command module and eventually, hopefully Earth. It was exhilarating, scary, exciting and something I’ll never forget. Little did I know that a couple of months later, I’d have the opportunity to briefly see all three of them in person in Madrid as part of their worldwide tour, a junket purposed in highlighting that great achievement. I actually stood within 20 or 30 feet of men who had been to another world, catching a glimpse of them each through the crowd that had gathered, my Dad making sure that I had the opportunity to lay my eyes on them all. I was enthralled. I wanted right then and there to be an Astronaut. I wanted to be Neil Armstrong. Hell, I still do.
Those were definitely the days for NASA and for the country. American exceptionalism at its finest. A time when, if only for a moment, Americans set aside differences and united in applauding one of Man’s greatest, if not the greatest, achievements. It makes seeing what NASA has become all the more difficult.
To help commemorate and perhaps even recapture some of that excitement, if only for the briefest of moments, I’m embedding this video I found over at Maggie’s Farm. Set aside some time to sit and enjoy it… and reminisce with me about a very special time in American history, hell, in World history: