Chasing The Moon

I love to watch documentaries. Never got into “Game of Thrones“, “X Men” or that genre of TV or movies. I am more of cops and robbers guy. Honestly I have gotten to the point where outside of watching “The Braves” my TV watching is pretty limited as is my conversations with my wife who is usually watching some gay guys on “Home and Garden ” while I’m getting my Brave’s fix this time of year. She is not a big baseball person. If I’m not watching TV, I am usually reading. By the way if you haven’t read anything by Ace Atkins you are missing out. My #1 author along with CJ Box, #1A.

PBS is running a documentary this month that I find fascinating. Chasing The Moon, directed by Robert Stone. The films tackle the US space program from four distinct angles: the competition with the Soviet Union, the public and private reactions to NASA’s missions, the rediscovered stories of the women who worked at NASA, and the experiences of Edward Joseph Dwight Jr, who in the 1960s almost became the first African American to go to space. I recommend this highly, especially if you were a astronaut geek like I was.

Back in the 70’s tennis with Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, boxing with Ali, Frazier and Foreman and baseball with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, space exploration and the astronauts were huge. Neil Armstrong, “Buzz” Aldrin, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Scott Carpenter, Gus Grissom and Lancaster South Carolina’s own, Charles Duke. All these guys were American heros and none were bigger than these astronauts. Of course the most famous astronaut of all, Major Tony Nelson who one day while walking on the beach ran across a bottle and while wiping the sand off a beautiful genie appeared. Barbra Eden…………Master. I have Siri programmed to whenever I ask her a question she calls me “master”. I used to “Dream of Jeannie’ too. I digress.

We are coming up on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. That in itself is hard to phathom. I remember by dad waking me up and we watched together Neil Armstrong taking that “small step for man and one giant leap for mankind”. It truly was a big deal and it was a big deal for our country. 1968 was a terrible year for America. MLK and Bobby Kennedy were assasinated, riots, Vietnam, Honey, by Bobby Goldsboro was the #1 song in America. God we needed a break. We finally got it when Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay took over the #1 slot. Otis Redding, now that was a talent. Sorry, I meant when we landed on the moon. Americans needed this and for that short period of time we were united and proud to be Americans.

I try not to bring politics into my blog of gasbagging but occasionally there may be a slip up. However it did get me to wonder with all the division in this country today would there be anything that would unite us like the moon landing. The USA Hockey team at Lake Placid in 1980 brought us together for a time and 9-11. I am afraid those days are long gone.

Today, the pews are emptying and a majority of Americans don’t consider religion to be an “extremely” or “very” important part of their identity. The Pledge of Allegiance is as likely to provoke protests as it is feelings of patriotism. Instead of showing reverence to our Founding Fathers, presidential candidates score political points by scorning them. Basic love of country is now seen as racist, capitalism as selfish, and traditional faith as intolerant and outdated. But these are among the shared values upon which our country was founded and which once bound our country together. Absent these values, what will keep us together? Just gasbagging.

So here’s to you as I raise my extra large glass of “Tang” and I have drank many. Mix a couple of spoonfuls with water……..boom. A tart orange drink. Neil, John, Alan, Scott, Gus Buzz and Charlie and all the others, Godspeed.

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