Does anyone NOT know that we're marking the 40th anniversary of man's landing on the moon?
It would be hard to miss the coverage on the national news, the passing of Walter Cronkite (a BIG supporter of the space missions) and that ever-present "We Choose to Go to the Moon" watch commercial.
At first, I wasn't sure why they were introducing the commemorative watch, but then I caught on.
As part of our attempt to cover a local angle on this story, we sent reporters out to ask those over age 45 if they remember the events and watching the moon landing live.
To our surprise, a LOT of people of the right age do not remember watching.
Oh, many worry about appearing less than patriotic, or embarrassed to appear on their neighbor's TV during the news... but the truth of the matter is that a lot of people simply weren't paying attention.
I was one of those sent out to find some "Man-on-the-Street" interviews, and it was hard to find someone willing to talk!
I discovered if you were a young woman of age 18, you weren't paying attention to the TV on that Sunday night back in 1969.
If you were a young man, the odds are you were serving in Viet Nam, and unaware of the events on the moon until afterward.
But still, I did find some people who were very eloquent in their memories of their family gathered around the TV set watching history being made. And I thank them for their memories. You can find them elsewhere on this website.
But I was struck at how many people didn't watch, didn't care, or simply don't remember. I wonder if that reflects the isolated nature of our region back in the 1960s and 70s? I'm not sure.
It is possible, but not a certainty, that many people didn't believe man could make it to the moon... or by 1970!
But there was another surprising thing for me. When asked what Neil Armstrong said when he stepped on the moon, only a handful could get the quote right. MOST stumbled and mis-stepped, though they had heard the line, and mis-remembered parts of it.
In a strange way, that echoes what he did and didn't say, 40 years ago...
"That's one small step for ( A ) man; one giant leap for mankind!"
I think I'll go watch "Apollo 13" with my kids tonight....