Thursday, July 16, 2009


For as long as human beings have stood on Terra Firma and looked wondrously to the heavens, people have dreamed of spaceflight.

A voyage to the stars is a daring, engaging, enduring dream that has captivated artists , writers, scientists and citizens. How could we voyage among the stars and what secrets about ourselves would be revealed if we could simply get there and safely return?

Through the ages, we have lived the lives of cosmic travelers ,vicariously, through the visionary literature of Jules Verne , Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke. We have revelled in the vivid images of transit to the planets crafted by Georges Melle, George Pal, Stanley Kubrick and Gene Roddenbery.

But, on July 16, 1969, in the torrid heat of the morning sun,along the sandy shores of Cape Canaveral, Florida, mankind's scientific reach came into thunderous alignment with the grasp of human imagination.

At the direction of a martyred President and after a decade of acrid, aggressive, truly mortal, competition between the United States and the now defunct Soviet Union, the American adventure would now embrace man's first steps to the stars.

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, spent years working diligently toward this moment when a ballistic behemoth, the Saturn V rocket, would blast men well beyond Earth's gravitational pull.

On that Summer day, the Apollo 11 spacecraft , atop that Saturn V booster, carried three NASA astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins, aloft into space and into history.

Their Destination : The Moon.

The events of that day, and the week that followed, are now indelibly etched into the minds and hearts of all who were old enough to understand the significance of what was unfolding before their very eyes. Millions of those eyes were focused on the RCA Color console in the living room, the big Magnavox set in the local bar or the GE portable in the backyard. Most who have personal recollection of the FLIGHT OF APOLLO 11,first hand,saw it all happen on television.

Some folks heard the countdown and lift-off on portable,transistor radios they carried to the beach Others listened to it blaring from the chrome encased,AM/FM receiver in the dash board of the family Plymouth or Pontiac on the local expressway.

No cable news channels existed. The primitive precursor to the Internet was restricted to military computers for the exchange of secretive defense data.Only birds communicated by tweets.

Over the next few days , we will recall how television put the world on the launchpad, in the command module and 238,700 miles away on the dusty, barren,surface of the Moon, when American astronauts came , as the plaque on the base of their lunar landing module said, in Peace for All Mankind.

In this clip, legendary CBS NEWS anchorman and spaceflight aficionado, Walter Cronkite, set the scene for American viewers from Cape Canaveral.But first, there was a word from Kellogg's of Battle Creek.:) Enjoy!!!!!

Here,Dan Rather introduces excerpts of CBS NEWS coverage of the Apollo 11 launch, which were, of course, anchored by Walter Cronkite. Enjoy!!!!

Walter Cronkite looks back at the ardor and adventure , importance and impact of the Apollo 11 mission , in this recent clip from CBS News. Enjoy!!!!

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