I watched Apollo 11 take off for the moon, No, I wasn’t at the Cape, I was about a 100 miles to the west, on US 301 just north of FL 60, probably driving up to my class at USF. I don’t actually remember, now. I had been following the launch preparations on the radio, so I had plenty of time to find a good place to pull off the road where I had a good view to the east. I watched the rocket go up, a skinny twisted contrail with a quivering speck of flame at the end.
A few days later, I watched the landing. Actually, I watched an animation of the landing, with audio from the spacecraft and Walter Cronkite providing the commentary. I had just stepped out of the shower, I was dripping wet, with a razor in my hand, and I remember quivering with delight, simultaneously laughing and weeping as I heard Armstrong’s voice from Tranquility Base, live, with only a light travel time delay. It was the happiest moment of my life. And I was so proud to be an American.
That night, I watched an American step onto the moon’s surface. I missed the moonwalk, though, my new girl friend chose to commemorate the event by making love, and I too felt that was appropriate. I wonder where Adrian is now. Is she still alive? Does she remember? Surely with all the anniversary celebrations going these days, she must remember that night, and me. We all knew where we were, and what we were doing, that moment.
I don’t know where I was when the Apollo crew came home and were brought aboard an aircraft carrier safely. That’s when I knew the adventure was finally over. They didn’t have the ability to transmit live video from a ship at sea in those days, but I do recall seeing the parachutes coming down–filmed earlier and broadcast later.
Fifty years ago. Holy shit.