It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Life, you know . . .
Today there will be a private funeral for Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. He died on August 25th. I had wanted to post something about him the day he died, but what can you post about someone who will be forever remembered in history? About someone who did what mankind had always thought impossible? Imagine telling Copernicus or Galileo that one day man would walk on the moon.
Last night I looked at the almost-full moon and tried to imagine — to really put myself in the moment — of what it would be like staring at that seemingly flat, bright white orb and knowing that there were people out there walking across its surface, kicking up moon dust. But I couldn’t. My daughter and I stared at it for some time thinking of Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the three men who were the first to voyage the farthest man had ever been from home . . . but neither of us could believe that people were once bouncing around its surface, driving buggies . . . or swinging a golf club. Where have the days of exploration gone? I know that our trip to the moon was politically driven, despite the cry that humanity shares the desire to explore. But if you look back throughout history, every bit of exploration mankind has done has been politically motivated. Just look at the discovery of the “New World.” But haven’t we grown? Haven’t we realized that it doesn’t have to be about politics? I think that yes, mankind does want to explore. I can’t believe for one moment that Armstrong only thought about what he was doing for his country. Sadly, though, governments want to see a return on investment, and they think that simply learning about space isn’t profitable. But I disagree. It not only teaches us about our galaxy and our origins, but it teaches us about ourselves.
The last time someone walked on the moon was on December 14, 1972, three months after I was born. I certainly hope that one day I will be able to share the excitement of knowing that someone is out there, looking down on me and marvelling about the world we come from. I’m sure Neil Armstrong did.
“High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.