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Monday, July 20, 2009

Do you remember?

Photograph Life by permission, for non-commercial / personal use only.

Some things you just don't forget.

Apollo 11's mission was one of them. The Summer of '69 probably means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to the little kid that I was back then, there was nothing more important than Apollo's mission.

Even in France, it was the number 1 topic on the news, every day. We memorized the team's names "Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin." You may not think much of that but to a little kid that doesn't speak a word of English, those are difficult names.

At the time, I was out at camp somewhere in the French country side, with a bunch of other kids my age. There was no TV, so we didn't get to watch it live with the rest of the world. But when the radios announced that the team had successfully taken its first steps on the moon, everybody cheered. We were absolutely, positively *extatic.*

Just a couple of months before that, in May 69, we had been graced with the First Supersonic Plane's flight over Paris by special permission (no commercial plane ever flies over the City Paris, ever), and heard the supersonic "boom." And now, Mr. Armstrong had shown the whole world that you could accomplish the seemingly impossible.

That night, after dinner, I went out and looked at the moon for a very long time, hoping to see Mr. Armstrong walk around the spacecraft with his buddies. The adults in the camp tried to get me to understand that it was impossible to see, that I should go to bed, that I was wasting my time, but I stayed outside looking at the moon for the longest time trying.

After all, if a man could walk on the moon, perhaps little kids all over the world could really see them, if they tried hard enough.

Summer of '69 for me was the summer when I believed that dreams could come true.

How do you remember Apollo 11's mission? Or if it was before your time, do you think we should try it again? Go for the stars?

* * *
Additional Resources

National Geographic: Apollo 11 Facts, 40 years later

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Blogger claude said...

Je crois que tous les gens qui ont assister devant leur télé où même à la radio à ce fabuleux évènement le garderont toujours en mémoire.

12:47 AM  
Blogger AphotoAday said...

Yes, indeedie doo -- if a guy is walking around on the moon, I feel it's our responsibility to at least have our eyes pointed towards the moon, even though we know we can't actually see him...

Very interesting reading how caught-up you French were in the mission to the moon... A relavent post, now that Walter Cronkhite has just died-- he was such a big fan of the space program -- his enthusiasm for space always perked up his reporting...

I can remember seeing a few satellites streak across the sky... I guess they still do...

6:55 AM  
Blogger Gramma Ann said...

I remember that night very well, after all I am a few years older than you ;) We had stayed up all night waiting and watching TV... waiting for that BIG MOMENT. I think it was around 2 o'clock in the morning in my little corner of the world when they landed on the moon. It almost seemed surreal... What a thrill it was when we watched him climb down the latter and put one foot on the moon and then the other one...and the rest is history. I was sitting on my living room couch with my husband watching history being made...I was 28 years old, so I remember it well.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Gramma Ann said...

"ladder" LOL... I kept thinking all day, I spelled that wrong. Senior moment....

6:10 PM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

Claude: normal, je crois. Te souviens-tu du Concorde? C'était aussi un grand evenement à Paris à l'époque.

DON: You'd be surprised how the rest of the world has their eyes always on what the US is doing, at least it was true while I was growing up, probably still is.

GRAMMA ANN: Don't worry, I didn't even notice. Besides, these little windows invite typos, if you ask me ;)

1:08 PM  
Blogger from cali said...

I have heard about this moon walk, much too young to have seen the actual event (stop laughing, Tomate!)so I naturally thought they were still going on about MJ!
Should we try again? I suppose that depends on what purpose it would serve. We have made such a mess on Earth do we really need to go muck up the Moon too?
Summer of 2009 for me is when I began to believe again that dreams can come true!

1:17 PM  
Blogger Patty said...

I was 33, Abe was 35 and the kids were all gathered round, plus an aunt and uncle were with us, all watching the TV. My uncle thought the whole thing was fake and they made it up like you would make something up on a movie set. I don't know if he ever did change his mind. I can't imagine what he would think now with cell phones that can take photos, computers like we all have and so many other things that this uncle never got to see.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Cez said...

Salut Tomato
Ca fait qq tps que je suis ton blog...Loveit !!
Apres avoir vecu au Canada, en Asie, et en Suisse now..je pense venir m'installer a SF...
Je viens en reperagege vers le 15 aout...serait il possible qu'on boive un cafe? Je vais avoir besoin de ton aide..huhu
Cool si tu reponds...c u soon

3:04 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Ah, how wonderful it would have been to be a kid on that momentous day...then, of course, I'd be a lot younger NOW. My husband, infant son, and neighbors with their childen watched the whole thing--one of those occasions when most people remember where they were at the time. Your photo is an apt memorial to the event.

10:05 PM  

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