By Tim Smith
This fourth installment in our month-long reflection finds Apollo 11's command module, Columbia, returning to Earth on the 24th of July, 1969 and for the next three weeks the astronauts were housed inside a Mobile Quarantine Facility, their 'new' residence to ensure that no-one living and working around them was even potentially impacted by any harmful materials that may have been captured from the moon's surface.
The Apollo 11 crew would soon be traveling the world to share their experiences.
Excerpt #4: Mr. Lindbergh's final thoughts on the mission to the moon from the pages of Life Magazine, July 9, 1969:
"Will we then find life to be only a stage, though an essential one, in a cosmic evolution of which our evolving awareness is beginning to become aware? Will we discover that only without spaceships can we reach the galaxies; that only without cyclotrons can we know the interior of atoms?
“To venture beyond the fantastic accomplishments of this physically fantastic age, sensory perception must combine with the extrasensory, and I suspect that the two will prove to be different faces of each other. I believe it is through sensing and thinking about such concepts that great adventures of the future will be found."
I mentioned last week that I had secured a special collection of memorabilia reproduced for the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum honoring the Apollo 11 mission. The author of the collection's guide book, Robert A. Craddock offers this summary:
"The astronauts were gracious enough to offer personal artifacts ... (Buzz) Aldrin, (presented) photographs of his children that he carried with him on the voyage; (Mike) Collins, maps, charts and the "Solo Book" he used during the flight.”
I purposefully left out Neil Armstrong's selection because it is quite unique. From Mr. Craddock: "Armstrong [gave the collection] a government travel order that pedantically describes the trip."
What is it they say, the devil is in the details, here is what makes this such a humorous, and telling artifact, as it shows another side of the steely Armstrong that we never really saw.
The major columns of his travel order (voucher) read as such:
Transportation: Gov. Air;
Points of Travel: From – Houston, Texas, To – Cape Kennedy, Fla, (the) Moon (,) Pacific Ocean (USN Hornet) Hawaii and return to Houston, Texas.
Amount claimed (by Mr. Armstrong): ($)49.10 (The) Net to Traveler: ($) 49.10.
From the Apollo 11 Wikipedia site: "The astronauts (also) had personal preference kits, (PPK's), small bags containing personal items of significance that they wanted to take with them on the mission ... Neil Armstrong's LM PPK contained a piece of wood from the Wright Brother's 1903 Wright Flyer's left propeller and a piece of fabric from its wing."
That's one small reveal for (a) man, one giant bridge across the decades.
Next week: Gearing up for another cultural milestone, with a slightly different impact, and definitely of the more earthly variety.
Finally: Releasing this September, look for Oscar winner Renee Zellweger starring as Judy Garland in the new film, "Judy: Judy Garland: The Legend Behind The Rainbow."
The film dramatizes the last year of Ms. Garland's life as she works on a final comeback in London. An early personal thought: I wish they would just let Ms. Garland's memory rest in our memories.
Tim[e] Travels: Reflections on my recent guest appearance on a Podcast. A first for me.
Our towns would never look the same after July 1969.
Welcoming you into the room, provoking conversation since '06
See you in the paper.
t A s