Happy Birthday, Dad!
While I don't remember July 20, 1969 as well as I would like, I am able to relive it today in the 21st century as if I were there. And it still gives me chills!
Right now, as I'm writing this post, I am listening to the conversation between Mission Control in Houston and The Eagle in real time via the website We Choose The Moon. This past Thursday, July 16th, 2009, Apollo 11 "launched" via this website and has allowed us to follow the first trip to the moon by listening to the communication between Mission Control and the Apollo 11 crew as if it were happening today. Currently, I'm listening to the conversation as the lunar module begins its preparations for the landing. I am amazed!
Of course, what would a 21st experience be without Twitter!? I am seeing the most amazing tweets come through my Twitter stream right now. Here is just a sampling:
Before McBro calls me a "dork" (something I actually love to hear from him), I know I'm a geek and I am very much reveling in my geekness today! I mean, seriously...what an amazing time to be living on this planet! Or out in space. Because while I am watching these Apollo 11 tweets come through the stream, there are also REAL real-time tweets coming from space via space shuttle astronaut Mark Polansky, known to us on Twitter as @Astro_127.
I do think Commander Polansky needs to update his profile, however. His current location is most definitely NOT Houston.
If you'd like another way to celebrate the 40th anniversary today, head on over to YouTube. Actually, you'll want to start with this post from the kind folks at Mashable: "Apollo 11 Moon Landing: A YouTube Timeline." In this one post, author Ben Parr has managed to capture the race for the moon in a total of twelve videos, including one with those famous words:
As a history teacher, I feel I should also point out that 1969 can be remembered as a year that saw a number of amazing stories. Remember these:
- Super Bowl III - The New York Jets and their quarterback Joe Namath beat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts
- The Beatles give their final live performance
- Richard Milhous Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th President of the United States
- The Saturday Evening Post published its final issue
- Ted Kennedy had a bit of an accident at Chappaquiddick Island
- Dave Thomas opened a small restaurant and named it after his daughter, Wendy
- And, of course, how can anyone forget The Miracle Mets!
Not to be left out of the loop, Google is announcing today the release of the Moon in Google Earth. Now we will all be able to travel to the moon (and elsewhere in space) and investigate the lunar surface. Of course, today just wouldn't be complete without this:
As I've been working on this post, a few more important tweets have come through the Twitter stream:
It may seem strange, but as I sit here listening to the "live" broadcasts from the Apollo 11 mission, I feel like I'm experiencing the same - or similar - emotions to what my parents must have felt that day forty years ago. It's been exciting and even a bit nerve-wracking. And I can still feel that sense of history in the making. I'll say it again...what an amazing time to be alive!
Last week, the Boston Globe celebrated the anniversary in pictures. The Big Picture includes a number of remarkable images, many of which are now iconic, a few of which I'd never seen. I sent this link to my dad when I saw it because I knew he would enjoy seeing the pictures also. He sent the following email back to me:
So do you remember exactly where you were when Armstrong stepped on the Moon on July 20, 1969?
I couldn't help myself. I responded:
Dude! I was five! I'll have to ask mom and get back to you.
So, Dad, what do you think? Pretty cool for everyone to celebrate your birthday like this today!
Karen (I'm the one on the right):