Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years Ago Today, America Walked on the Moon


July 20th, 1969. I was thirteen years old, sitting on the living room floor of my Uncle Duke's house "down the shore" in Long Branch, New Jersey. My family and I were watching live black & white images from the Moon. Yes - America was walking on the Moon! We were mesmerized - the event was unbelievable. I will never forget that day. I was so proud to be an American.

I grabbed this article out of AmericanCatholic.org (CNS);

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—"Honor, greetings and blessings to you, conquerors of the moon, pale lamp of our nights and our dreams," Pope Paul VI said in a message to the three Apollo 11 astronauts who had just landed on the moon.

The night of July 20-21, 1969, Pope Paul had spent time looking at the moon through the telescope of the Vatican Observatory at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Then he watched the actual landing and the first moon walk on television.

But his message to the U.S. astronauts and a congratulatory telegram to then-President Richard Nixon represent only a tiny portion of what Pope Paul had to say about the expedition months before the July 16 launch and months after the July 24 return to earth.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the first manned mission to land on the moon, Vatican Radio published its collection of Pope Paul's audience and Angelus talks about the mission, his reflections on the day of the landing, and the text of his speech to astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, whom he met at the Vatican Oct. 16, 1969.

Pope Paul told Armstrong that he was right on the mark in describing the mission as "one giant leap for mankind."

read more HERE

* Image of the Earth from ApolloArchive.com

2 comments:

Gabriella said...

The whole world was mesmerized :)
I remember I was about your age and, like everyone, was watching the landing live on TV and couldn't help thinking that mankind was one step closer to God!
I enjoyed reading Pope Paul VI's comments on this enterprise.
Thanks Brian.

Brian said...

Your very welcome Gabriella!

There is a song performed by Nancy Griffith on her "Clock without hands" CD named "Armstrong", written by John Stewart. It is a good song, with a nice twist at the end. Here are the lyrics...

Black boy in Chicago
Playing in the street
Not near enough to wear
Not near enough to eat
Don't you know he saw it
He saw a man named Armstrong
Walk upon the moon

Young girl in Calcutta
Barely eight years old
The flies that swarm the market place
Will see she don't get old
Don't you know she heard it
On that July afternoon
She heard a man named Armstrong
Had walked upon the moon
He heard a man named Armstrong
Had walked upon the moon

The rivers are getting dirty
The wind is getting bad
Wars and hate are killing off
The only earth we have
But the world all stopped to watch it
On that July afternoon
To watch a man named Armstrong
Walk upon the moon
To watch a man named Armstrong
Walk upon the moon
To watch a man named Armstrong
Walk upon the moon

And I wonder if a long time ago
Somewhere in the universe
They watched a man named "Adam"
Walk upon the earth