Remembering July 20, 1969


Back in 1969 at the time of the first moon landing I was working for a small firm of chartered accountants in Wimpole Street, near Oxford Circus. I was an articled clerk and commuted daily from my parents home in Hertfordshire.

I worked during the day and studied at night. Although interested in the landing it took place sometime in the early hours of the morning and I fell asleep and missed the actual event.

This all came flooding back when I read this New York Times piece by Tom Wolfe , author of The Right Stuff. Wolfe’s column begins:-

WELL, let’s see now … That was a small step for Neil Armstrong, a giant leap for mankind and a real knee in the groin for NASA.

Bruce Mccall - New York Times - July 18

Bruce Mccall - New York Times - July 18

The American space program, the greatest, grandest, most Promethean — O.K. if I add “godlike”? — quest in the history of the world, died in infancy at 10:56 p.m. New York time on July 20, 1969, the moment the foot of Apollo 11’s Commander Armstrong touched the surface of the Moon

I enjoyed Wolfe’s article, recalling Kennedy’s initiation of the so called space race as well as likening it all to an earlier age of combat. I hope you enjoy Wolfe’s piece as well.

It reminded me of how so many saw the landing as the start of a new age of exploration, rather like the voyages of the great navigators of earlier centuries Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Cook amongst others. At the same time I was at the start of my career, little realizing then that it would take me around the world with lengthy stints in a number of countries.

40 years ago, yet I can remember it all so clearly.

UPDATE:- Poneke reminisces on the same theme, but more elegantly than I.Not only that but he tells the Gorsky joke, which I remembered, but had forgotten the wording of the punch line.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s