Sunday, July 20, 2014

The LuLac Edition #2698, July 20th, 2014

I am starting to feel like my parent’s felt when an anniversary of D-day or the death of Franklin Roosevelt was celebrated in the 70s and 80s. Today is the 45th anniversary of one of the most remarkable achievements in mankind. Man on the moon.
As a child of the 60s TV generation, I was treated and dare I say privileged to watch history unfold as America inched toward the Moon. When we weren’t in school, the nuns at St. John the Baptist would roll that mammoth black and white RCA Victor into combined classrooms and we’d watch it on TV. My friends and I knew the names and hometowns of the astronauts as well as we did our favorite baseball players. My sister started a space scrapbook, I continued it after she graduated high school and then passed it on to my friend Dave Dellarte when I event to Broadcast School in Washington, D.C. Sadly even for a space die hard like me, in 1972 Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern took on more importance than the already routine (save for Apollo 13) moon shots.
But on this day, 45 years ago I was home eagerly waiting for the landing on the moon. At that time I worked part time at Detato’s Super Market in Pittston and back then, stores were…..wait for it…CLOSED on Sunday.
That night, my father and I were driving my mother nuts. My dad and I kept on switching the three channels on the TV. We had a footstool under a huge picture window next to the TV. This was our second TV and it was an Admiral Color set. I sat on the brown piece of furniture as my father called out the numbers, 28 for NBC’s Huntley/Brinkley and Frank McGee’s coverage, 22 for the CBS broadcast of Walter Cronkite’s dulcet tones and ABC for Frank Reynolds and Jules Bergman. After hours of this my mother stood in front of the TV and yelled, “Pick one, you’re going to break off that knob”. (This was before remotes). We settled on NBC but when she went to the bathroom shortly before the space craft landed, we put on Cronkite seeing his iconic description of the event.

Most of America had no clue how close the landing came to not being one at all. There wasn’t a lot of fuel left and Armstrong and Aldrin got that thing down with seconds to spare. As we waited for Armstrong to take his steps, my father once more uttered again, “TV is a wonderful thing”.
The fact that Americans landed on the moon, safely and walked there was a boon to a nation struggling with war and so many social changes. Through the years, many people, our current President included have not been kind in terms of funding for NASA. That was the agency that “brung us to the dance”. But here’s what landing on the moon gave us: Just for starters, a shock-absorbing rubber compound used in sneakers, memory-foam mattresses, and algae-enriched baby formula. Plus countless earthlings who benefit daily from GPS systems.
Almost every technological advance we have, any gadget, any games, Teflon for crying out loud can be attributed to the moon landing. We did more than just take a pleasure cruise, from space experiments we developed a better way of life. Explorers who go into the darkness of not knowing, usually bring out more enlightened ways to live. It’s all about whether you want to stay in the present or gamble on the future.
To this day, there are conspiracy theorists who think we did not land on the moon. Talk Radio is still making a living on that nonsense. But 45 years ago to the day, we landed on the Moon. No one else has done it ever since.
We did and we did it well. As the years from that day grow longer in length, I pray that current citizens and future generations who were not alive to see this monumental event celebrate and commemorate this day with the respect and honor it deserves.


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