Rest in Tranquility

One of the posters on my childhood bedroom wall was a souvenir from my family’s visit to Cape Kennedy in 1969. The poster had photos from the Mercury and Gemini programs and an artist’s conception of what the Apollo moon landings would be like. Around the perimeter, there were yearbook-style photos of all the NASA astronauts.

The death of Neil Armstrong today brought back those memories of 43 years ago. He will be remembered forever alongside the world’s most legendary explorers. Here’s what I wrote a few years ago on the anniversary of Armstrong’s historic step onto the lunar surface.

If you’re of a certain age, the lunar landing is probably one of your happiest memories. It certainly is one of mine. Between the flight of Apollo 11 and the unlikely success of the Miracle Mets, the summer of 1969 was amazin’. In a way, I am still the little kid who learned the names of all the Apollo astronauts and all the New York Mets that summer.
My family was on vacation in Noyac when the Eagle landed. We stayed up late to watch the coverage on an old black & white TV in my grandparents’ summer cottage. The only channel we could get was WTNH out of New Haven, Connecticut. While most people think of Walter Cronkite’s moon coverage, my memory is of Frank Reynolds, Howard K. Smith and science editor Jules Bergman.
Later that summer, my parents took us downtown to see the ticker-tape parade welcoming the astronauts home. Neil Armstrong has kept a fairly low profile since making history but he was interviewed on “60 Minutes” in 2005.

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