Saturday, July 21

One Small Anniversary

I can't believe it! I missed it! Yesterday (7/20) marked the 38th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I wouldn't be writing this now if NPR hadn't mentioned it this morning. Imagine that: one of those "I'll remember this moment and where I am and what I'm doing for the rest of my life" events and it slipped my mind!

Not a round number, I guess. Kind of easy to forget. Not like a 25th, or a 40th. Wonder how we'll celebrate the 50th in 2019?

I marked July 20th, 1969 in the control room at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In college I worked part-time for the radio side of WOOD. After college I went to work there full-time. Weeks later, I lucked into the producer's gig (read the "Man and Mentor" post).

I was 14 years old when President John F. Kennedy made his bold challenge:

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the earth."

Impossible, we all thought. And yet here we were, eight years later (and less than six years after Kennedy's assassination) watching Neil Armstrong take his "one small step" while it seemed the entire world held its breath.

It was the first time I produced a newscast that included coverage of a major news event. I remember it as if it was yesterday. Do you remember men walking on the Moon?

To refresh your memory--or to give you a sense of the event if you're young--here's a link to a nice compilation from "YouTube:"

I guess if you were raised on PCs and MTV and video games and iPhones and the Space Shuttle, you may think that first Moon landing was no big deal.

I guess. But I remember that night, in the control room, in the dark: all of us quiet, all of us captivated, and I remember thinking "My heart is still beating" and being a little amazed that it was.