I was busy yesterday and didn’t get to share my memories of Apollo 11. So I’ll be a day late and a dollar short.
I was very excited and anxious to see man walk on the moon. I was just 7 year old but was so intrigued by our space program. Through television, I had kept up with all launches and advances NASA had made to get us to the moon.
Mom had found a novelty astronaut jumpsuit at Ben Franklin Department Store for me, complete with NASA insignia and Apollo mission emblems. I had the jumpsuit on, while I watched the CBS broadcast of the landing and can remember the excitement in Walter Cronkite’s voice. He, myself and the whole nation anxiously, and nervously, listened to the live radio feed from the lunar module, as they made their descent to Tranquility Base.
I can remember the excitement I had when I heard those famous words, “The Eagle has Landed.” I jumped up and down with excitement. My mother had to calm me down. I can remember the smile and excitement in Walter Cronkite’s face. He was wrenching his hands together and grinning from ear to ear.
Several moments passed and we finally got a camera feed from the outside of the module. Sometime during the space flight, the outside camera had gotten turned and the image was upside down. NASA corrected the problem, giving us an upright image. Finally, the door opened and Neil Armstrong came down the ladder. He stepped onto the moon’s surface, first describing the surface to NASA. Then he spoke those famous words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
While the camera being turned caused a delay in exiting the lunar module, something else was going on inside that isn’t known by many.
Inside the lunar module just hours before following Neil Armstrong onto the heavenly body, Buzz Aldrin, being a devout Christian, celebrated the Christian sacrament of Holy Communion, with wafers and a bottle of wine – a fact the U.S. government reportedly refused to make public at the time. Holy Communion is a Christian act of worship symbolizing Jesus’s final meal with his disciples, known as The Last Supper. Neil Armstrong, being a deist, didn’t participate. However, out of respect, he stood back and observed.
The Apollo 11 astronaut’s plan to broadcast the religious act back to Earth was blocked by NASA after an atheist filed a lawsuit complaining about a previous holy broadcast on the Apollo 8 mission.
‘I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup,’ Aldrin described in a 1970 copy of Guideposts magazine, cited in the Guardian.
‘It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.’
Before that, Aldrin had radioed Houston Space Center Mission Control inviting listeners to ‘give thanks’ with him and also read a section of the gospel of John he had written on a card:
‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.’
The verse can be found in the book of John, chapter 15, verse 5.
I personally find it interesting, and fitting, that on a distant and lifeless rock, Earth’s own satellite, both of which were created by God, that the first act of man on the moon, man that was given life by God our creator, was to speak words of life first spoken by Jesus Christ, bringing life to the lifeless Moon.
That was a very memorable day for me. The excitement didn’t wear off for some time. For the longest time, my father couldn’t keep handkerchiefs. I was forever putting on my NASA jumpsuit and playing Neil Armstrong in the yard. To properly play, I had to have a flag to plant on the surface of the moon. So I would use crayons and color my father’s handkerchief as a US Flag, tying them to a stick. I would then firmly jab it in the ground.
My interest in space travel and the cosmos has grown over the years. I still keep up with news and information of advancements in space travel. However, I have found something that peaks my interest even more, I have found Jesus Christ and accepted him as my Savior. While I am still envious of Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon, I am more envious of Buzz Aldrin praying and speaking the words of Jesus Christ on the moon.
I may no longer play Neil Armstrong in the yard but I do sort of play Buzz Aldrin, reading, studying and meditating the Word of God.
Anyway, that’s my recollection of July 20 1969, with some knowledge I have learned over my years of reading up on the subject. I hope you enjoyed my reminiscing.