Faron Wahl, Manager
Here’s yet another historic anniversary, causing us to again reflect on how we got to today. Precisely 50 years ago this Tuesday, much of the world watched in gripped anticipation as three astronauts lifted off aboard a Saturn V rocket that would take humans to the moon for the first time. Few moments in U.S history have later begged a more meaningful “where were you at that moment?” discussion point.
Virtually none of us could claim it, geographically speaking, more than anyone else. Most landmark events occur physically near some folks who see it firsthand, while others only learn about it distantly. But the moon landing was shared equally by watchful beings across the globe. Everyone had the same vantage point, at best a grainy TV image from roughly 234,000 miles away.
And the moon was in a waxing crescent stage, so even a clear night during the mission provided only a partial-globe view for anyone who took a stroll in their backyard to gaze in wonder at this celestial body about to receive its first Earth visitors.
What amounted to an almost crazy proposition only years earlier was now coming to fruition, leaving nearly every human who was aware of the mission pondering if it could really be so. But just four days after launch, there they were, Armstrong and Aldrin, walking on the dusty, gray surface.
We’ve still only learned tidbits of the daunting, do-it-right-or-die risks involved with jettisoning these three guys to their brief lunar outpost. So many hundreds of things could have doomed the mission, and most of them were only collectively understood by a handful of key players whose job it was to make it all happen.
I always want to toss additional credit to Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, the only one of the crew who didn’t get to set foot on the physical destination due to his critical role of orbiting while the other two descended and walked. As in so many life situations, some get more fame and credit than others, but none of it would have happened without all three doing their jobs incredibly well.
Many of us have taken an eight-day trip at some time in our lives. But this Apollo mission stands as the wildest possible example of leaving home on a Wednesday and coming home eight days later on the next Thursday. Almost like when you pack the car and head to Disney World. Only not like that at all.
I wonder if any readers of this column happened to attend the Junius Church service that Sunday when Eagle landed. The church was moved to the village during the summer of ’67 and some services continued to be subsequently held inside, much as we do today. What were the conversations that morning on the west doorstep after the service? I would imagine prayers were lifted during the service for those three brave gentlemen and their families.
This Saturday, on the 50th anniversary of the physical lunar landing, I hope you can take in some good historical read, or perhaps a documentary reviewing this “giant leap for mankind”. And when you’ve satisfied your historical curiosity that day, come on out to our Opera House and cap it off with a great country music concert!
Jason Brown will be filling out the third spot in our summer concert series that night. An Iowa boy turned country music artist, Jason brings to our stage a smooth, baritone voice delivering a classic sound that’ll make your toe tap. And his friendly Midwestern demeanor only adds to the relaxed comfort of his show.
During intermission, our guest artist will be drawing one winner from our Concert Series Prize Package box – a promotion we’ve been talking about all summer. We’re excited to learn who the big winner will be!
The show is at 7:00; doors open at 6:00. Get your tickets by calling 256-3644 or stopping by our gift shop. We’ll sell any remaining tickets at the door. We look forward to seeing you there!