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July 2019

    The True Day to Recognize​ Apollo 11

    Although the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, the mission was not truly over until July 24 when it returned to Earth. Like ascending Everest, you had to get back down to truly make history. So today deserves at least a footnote in the history books.

    Getting back safely was no small task, as we learned from Apollo 13, remember “Houston, we have a problem”? Indeed, Apollo 11’s splashdown was initially upside down. William Safire had drafted a statement for Richard Nixon to read if the return were unsuccessful, and I know we all are grateful never to have had to hear it. Instead and during the worst of the Vietnam War, he claimed the world had never drawn closer. Best to leave that without comment.

    Over time, we have stopped using the phrase, “If they can send a man to the moon…”. I suspect that is not because the thought was worn but because we aren’t so sure we could again. There have, however, been recent references to the idea of a “moon shot” for things like climate change, which is something truly worth considering although it seems to be growing rather late for that.

    In noting today’s significance, I certainly don’t mean to diminish the magic of July 20th, 1969. It was one of those days I can say exactly where I was at the time, and I marvel at the moment still. In thinking about that day and time, I wrote this short poem that reflects some of my own thoughts.

    July 20, 1969

                After John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

    I was schooled to cower 

    under the shelter of 

    my wooden school desk

    to hide from fallout

    raining from the sky

    in blasts brighter 

    than the noonday sun

    raising umbrella clouds

    to announce the end of days

    But for one July evening 

    I lay under a clear night sky 

    in a field damp with cleansing dew

    while man walked far above

    on a waxing crescent promise

    that we might someday

    rise high enough to look down

    upon our own self-destruction

    and perhaps once more

    to touch the heart of God

  • On the Fourth of July

    Today has been a busy day in history, and not just for the reason you assume. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on this day in 1804. Walt Whitman first published Leaves of Grass today in 1855, challenging…

The Last Word

After all is said and done, more is said than done.

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