Monday, July 13, 2009

'...the Good Earth"

July 20th is the 40th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon. This was the dream of the ages. Although disparaged, doubted by millions now it 'did' happen.

However for me, and perhaps many in my aging generation the first real trip to Luna happened on the previous Christmas eve.

December 24th 1968.

1968 that history changing year. Of all the monumental events of that time perhaps the most meaningful was the first visit to the moon by people from Earth.

That is "meaningful" to the long story of our species. After all of the chaos, and passions of these decades passes away. When all that makes us red in the face becomes mere footnotes of a future syllabus.

When that time comes this event, this first visit of human beings to the moon will be viewed with profound awe.

I wrote a post about that other, and more historic anniversary last Christmas.

Long ago, when I was a lad. Three men went to the moon. They were the first to go, but because they didn't land no one remembers their names. Never mind that doesn't matter. What does matter though is what they did when they arrived.

These were the first human souls to reach, and orbit the moon. It was Christmas eve 1968. A most eventful year. Indeed a most dramatic year in world history as those who were there will vividly remember.

It was fitting that it closed with so dramatic, and moving an event as Apollo 8 reaching la Luna.

The Moon.

Through this voyage we for the first time saw our Earth, our home whole in the sea of forever. So small, so beautiful, so fragile.

The world watched, and listened that night. That Christmas eve, that Holy night of our combined Hopes.

As the Apollo caravel rounded the moon astronauts Anders, Lovell, and Borman read from the first page of Genesis.

William Anders:

"For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you".

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."

Jim Lovell:

"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

Frank Borman:

"And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."

Borman then added, "And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you - all of you on the good Earth."


♥ Braja said...

Hey, Uncle....! Nice to see you.....long time...

Lino, Atheiest is too tame a word said...

A documentary illuminated the real story behind that Christmas Eve reading:

"The Church" (s) had become increasingly uneasy at the fact that humans were now exploring the "heavens" and not findin' any "angels" -or other nonsense. There was talk that some Congressmen, particularly from the south would seek to kill or restrict NASA's allotment..
They wouldn't say why, but this religion bullshit was the reason.

They couldn't torture anyone into submission as they had in the "good ol' days" -but they could strangle the institution.

I remember my neighbor's kids were attending St Ignatius school (Park ave 84th st) during that era. I asked my close friend Brian (good Irish name) how he felt that there were no angels up in space after-all.

He said that he had asked this in school and gotten bashed with a stick by one of the nuns. I attended Public school (PS6 Man) and there adults were strictly forbidden from -ever- striking kids under penalty of dismissal and prosecution. I was truly shocked that this was allowed at a school.

Religion..I never touch the stuff.


Zaek said...

I'm glad you said that Lino. The church has always been the enemy of science. The last thing I want to hear from a great scientific enterprise is a lot of creationist twaddle. Reading it made me groan.

As for the south, it would be a boon to the rest of us if they seceded at this point, and amusing to see how they'd fare without the federal largesse they receive disproportionately from the liberal states they despise.

Uncle 2012 said...

Well you guys are no fun.

Uncle 2012 said...

Still it was I thought a swell gesture. Btw there was also broadcast something by Isaac Asimov during the orbit.

I wish I could get the text. It had to do with our species rise from the blue-green algae to traveling amid the stars.

It was very inspirational, and was read as images of the moon were being beamed to us.

Zaek said...

I like Asimov and would be glad to read or hear his remarks. As I recall he was a supporter of the Humanist Party.

From swamp slime to celestial voyagers: when you look at it like that, we have come a long way. It's enough to make one optimistic, if we can manage to think in the long run.