Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. What’s this have to do with Cincinnati?
Well, the first one out of the lunar module was current Indian Hill resident Neil Armstrong.
Armstrong, a veteran of the Air Force’s X-1 program and Project Gemini, commanded the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Afterward, he was rather quiet about his achievement. He moved to Cincinnati in the mid-1970’s to become a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Since then, he’s lived a quiet life in the tony suburb of Indian Hill. Occasionally, he makes an appearance with the Cincinnati Pops to do narrations. As for the moon landing, he’s been perfectly happy to let fellow lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin speak for the crew. (There was a radio ad for the the beef industry a few years back when Aldrin, after reverently speaking of the trip, flies off in a rage and says, “Of course, we had steak! What did you expect us to celebrate with? A can of ravioli? One degree off on reentry, and we would have been accute BBR. That’s a cute little NASA term for burned beyond recognition!“)
As for the moon landing itself, like Armstrong, I didn’t live in the Queen City at the time. I was only 3 and living in a Cleveland suburb when Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Yet it’s one of my earliest and clearest memories. I spent my childhood obsessed with the space program, to the point where I gave Mr. Johnson’s fifth grade class a lecture. (Now that’s obsessive.)
Hopefully, we will be returning to the moon in a few years. And we’ll have company. It’ll be fifty years between the last landing and the next one, a half century wasted when we could have exploited existing technology to find the moon’s true potential.
All photos nasa.gov.
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