Monday, July 20, 2009

The Eagle Has Landed !

Forty years ago, on July 20th, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, landed the lunar module Eagle on the Moon. With astronaut Michael Collins orbiting above in the command module, Armstrong and Aldrin landed safely in the Sea of Tranquility base becoming the first humans on the Moon.

Millions of people around the world were glued to their televisions and radios awaiting news about the landing. Armstrong made his descent to the Moon's surface and spoke his famous line "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." After their scheduled tasks were completed, the astronauts rested for seven hours and then lifted off to rendezvous with the command module.

The three astronauts returned to Earth and landed safely in the Pacific Ocean, east of Wake Island, on July 24th. They were quickly picked up by the recovery ship USS Hornet and once safely aboard, were greeted by President Richard Nixon.

I recall watching the entire mission and the reactions from Americans and people all over the world. The sense of national pride and unity washed over everyone and the memories still linger, etched forever in my mind. It was a great moment for this fourteen year old boy (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

Walter Cronkite died Friday evening at his Manhattan home in New York City. Cronkite was the face of the "CBS Evening News" from 1962 to 1981, and covered such big stories as the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, Neil Armstrong's first lunar landing and subsequent first steps on the moon, the Watergate scandal and the Iranian hostage crisis. It was Cronkite who read the bulletins coming from Dallas when Kennedy was shot Nov. 22, 1963, interrupting a live CBS-TV broadcast of the soap opera "As the World Turns."

Cronkite, for whom the commonly used television term "anchorman" was created, ended the news each evening by stating, "And that's the way it is." Two polls pronounced Cronkite the "most trusted man in America", a 1972 "trust index" survey in which he finished No. 1, about 15 points higher than leading politicians, and a 1974 survey in which people chose him as the most trusted television newscaster. Walter Cronkite was 92 years old.

In a day and time where society's admired and idolized personae seem to be misdirected and decaying, I would be one of the first to point out to the younger generation that a figure such as Walter Cronkite should be added to their list. Recent celebrity deaths notwithstanding, Cronkite was a man who calmed the nation during the television coverage of the assassination and funeral of JFK.

He enthused the nation with his almost boyish exuberance over the first lunar landing, was a volunteer war correspondent during World War II and Vietnam. Cronkite left the nation with a sense of security each evening with his calm, professional coverage of the nightly news. CNN and other similar news organizations and media could learn a lot following the fresh and unbiased reporting by Walter Cronkite. He will be missed.

This Date In History: 1871; The province of British Columbia joins the Dominion of Canada. 1881; Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrenders to the US Army under a promise of amnesty. 1944; A bomb meant to assassinate German dictator Adolf Hitler explodes at his headquarters, killing four. Hitler survives, and the senior military staff who conspired against him are executed.

1954; An agreement between France and the Vietminh forces led by Ho Chi Minh ends the First Indochina War. The agreement calls for a temporary partition of the country into North and South Vietnam. 1969; US Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin land on the Moon, where Armstrong becomes the first person to step on the Moon's surface.

Picture Of The Day: Today's pictures, ironically, are intertwined more than you know. The first Moon landing of the Apollo 11 astronauts was heavily covered by the news media and especially CBS News' Walter Cronkite. It was a day where the nation collectively held their breath, following the mission moment by moment.

Guiding and informing us from minute to minute was "Uncle Walter" Cronkite, who, himself, was as overwhelmed by the accomplishment when Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the Moon. It was a special time, with special people and I'm glad that I was alive to witness it. It seems fitting that Walter Cronkite died on the weekend of the 40th anniversary of the mission. "Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed!" Rest In Peace, Walter.....

Birthdays: Petrarch, poet 1304, Sir Richard Owen, English anatomist and taxonomist 1804, Edmund Hillary, mountain climber and Antarctic explorer, who, with the Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norkay, was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest (29,035 ft), the world’s highest peak 1919, Frantz Fanon, psychiatrist and political theorist 1925, Nam June Paik, video artist 1932, Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist 1933.

Printable Things I Never Told You: 1) In this day and time, it's hard to believe that groups of young people actually sat at their television sets to watch the CBS news coverage of the first landing on the Moon, but we did! Times have certainly changed. 2) Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died. 3) I love the whooshing sound of deadlines as they go flying by. 4) As kids, we had "seasons" for everything. Marble season, yoyo season, top season and others. I don't know how they came and went, but they just did. 5) Is there a ring of debris around Uranus?

The Hits Just Keep On Coming:

A female officer arrested a man for drunk driving. The female officer tells the man, "Sir, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you." The drunk replies, "Tits"

An Amish lady is trotting down the road in her horse and buggy when she is pulled over by a cop. The cop says, "Ma'am, I'm not going to ticket you, but I do have to issue you a warning. You have a broken reflector on your buggy." The lady replies, "Oh, I'll let my husband, Jacob, know as soon as I get home."

The cop continues, "That's fine. Another thing, ma'am. I don't like the way that one rein loops across the horse's back and around one of his balls. I consider that animal abuse. That's cruelty to animals. Have your husband take care of that right away!"

Later that day, the lady is home telling her husband about her encounter with the cop. Her husband asked, "Well, dear, what exactly did he say?" His wife said, "The reflector is broken." Her husband answered, " I can fix that in two minutes. What else?" His wife said, "I'm not sure, Jacob, something about the emergency brake."

That's it for today my little tater tots. Remember that as you grow older, that warm feeling that life brings you might mean that you just peed on yourself. More on Wednesday.

Stay Tuned !


Robin said...

I was two years old in 69. LOL

garnett109 said...

i was 7 and in the mercy hospital watching that on a BLACK & WHITE BIG CONSOLE SCREEN, memories!

Rose said...

Emergency Brakes! LOL

Wow, your audience is young....2 years old for Robin.....and Garnett was 7. Really!

Sully, that leave just you and me and I think I have a few years on you! LOL

Hugs, Rose

Heli gunner Tom said...

Sorry, most educated Vietnam Veterans will tell you that Walter Cronkite lacked true honesty when reporting news about the Vietnam War and actually hurt the war effort by telling Americans that we LOST the war when we were really WINNING the war in 1968 and onward! He was a well known Leftist Liberal 'One World Gov't' guy.

Tom S

Martha said...

Holy sh*t that was already 40 years ago? Yikes! I remember that day well. Thanks for making me feel old tonight Jimmy - No where to go from here now but to Area 51 ;-)

garnett109 said...

rose i might only be 47 but my body feels like 80

Linda's World said...

I was 27 when they landed on the moon but I don't recall all the details. I only had a small screen black & white Zenith at the time. I wish I could remember my reactions of that day. Thanks for the great coverage of a historical event, Jimmy. Linda in hot & sunny Washington state
P.S. that means I'm 25 years older than Robin

Frances said...

This was a really nice tribute for Walter Cronkite, and also for the Eagle landing. I remember Cronkite interrupting the 'soap' to tell the world about JFK being shot. I also remember when the Eagle landed. And let's just say I was old enough to remember!!!

Julie said...

I was around 14 back then and remember watching it in summer school. Thanks for that lovely memory, lol.

Ally Lifewithally said...

Thanks for the memories ~ The whole world was watching that day ~ Ally x