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Walk on the Moon Memories 40th Anniversary

Saturday July 18, 2009

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I was 19 years old the summer of 1969. Richard Nixon was president. The Vietnam War was raging and Woodstock would not happen until August 15. 40 years ago this weekend Americans waited eagerly for Sunday morning, July 20th, to arrive. NASA was going to fulfill a dream that President John F. Kennedy spoke of in 1961. Some of us are old enough to remember this day quite clearly and so I thought that today I would share with you my walk on the moon memories on this 40th Anniversary. And yes, I do consider this a technology post…I mean really, man walking on the moon, now that is technical!

As I said, I was 19. I had moved back to San Diego from San Francisco on Memorial Day weekend 1969. The reason I remember the exact weekend is that my first husband and I drove from San Francisco to San Diego and we got stuck in traffic in San Clemente on Interstate 5 for six (6) hours that weekend. The good news about that trip is that we were driving our brand new 1969 VW Beetle (air cooled engine), so idling on the freeway was just no big deal. But I digress…

I worked for Wells Fargo Bank and my husband was in college, so he had a summer job of some kind. We lived in a really small, strange apartment that seemed to look more like a motor home and we did not own a television. A friend of ours loaned us a TV to use for the summer. It was a black and white RCA television. This is the same year that saw such summer movie blockbusters as Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider (both debuted in May 1969). If you have never seen either of these movies, rent them, they are classics.

As I said it was a Sunday morning and I don’t know if NASA specifically planned this historic walk for a Sunday in order to allow more Americans to watch the show, but we got up early, the television went on and at exactly 20:17:40 UTC (GMT) the Eagle landed in our moon’s Sea of Tranquility. That was 01:17:40PM PDT our time. Six and one-half hours later Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon’s surface.

I have two distinct memories from that day: First, while waiting for the Eagle to land, the radio played Oliver’s rendition of Good Morning Starshine. The words were perfect. (see the 1st YouTube Video below); Second, we watched the CBS coverage with Walter Cronkite and shared another life-altering event with him. (see 2nd YouTube video below).

And so today, as we begin the 40th Anniversary celebration of our Walk on the Moon, we remember with great respect and sadness the passing of Walter Cronkite last evening at the age of 92. And I will think back to the day so long ago that I sat in that little apartment, watched with wonder and together we wrote in our diary: “Today, man walked on the moon!”

P.S. In 1999 a movie was released as a tie in to the 30th Anniversary, A Walk on the Moon. This is another movie that many of you will enjoy.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The Statue Speaks

I bid you welcome to this place of grace
What you see here is done for memory
Though most may think it inspired by bravery
I believe it came from love

Here you see the artist’s craft
taken from a living form
to stand in perpetuity
on sunny days, in wind, and storm

This sculpture honors all Marines
And honors this community
A perfect home, an ideal clime
And with all this, a people free

Today you see a bronzed skin
Saluting all who went before
You cannot see what lives within
The patriot’s soul and something more

We left these shores on your behalf
who valued duty more than life
we were no mercenary troops
Who make a business out of strife

I am not one but many here
we left this coast for distant lands
I served in steaming jungles there
In wintry wastes and desert sands

We did not know when we were young
We changed when we went through the door
The D.I. and the uniform
They made us members of the Corps

I’ve walked my post in rainy night
And stood the watch in icy cold
I’ve done my best in every fight
And lived with brothers, young and old

We did not go to serve a king
Nor stake a claim for nation’s pride
Our empire lives in manhood’s dream
Of peoples living side by side

We came in peace where ere we went
Prepared to do what must be done
Warriors by a nation sent
To walk the line, to use the gun

We fought a nation’s enemies
And sent them to their final rest
We saved a child from famine’s grip
And freed a people long oppressed

I have seen my brothers fall
And I have brought them home again
Their families’ tears were like my own
Who lived to see a bitter end.

Many cannot hear me speak
On a hundred posts, far away
Others there are, you cannot see
Marines in spirit here today

If they could tell you all they feel
Then you would know what’s in their heart
Their actions made their beliefs real
They only sought to do their part.

We who serve now honor them
With everything we say and do
We will not shirk the nation’s call
It is our job, we go for you

I will not keep you longer now
To listen to a statue’s speech
I bid you well this Veterans Day
Enjoy the park, the sun, the beach

And now I close, I take my place
Upon the watch that never ends
And so I join fellow Marines
Some call them heroes, I called them friends

Stewart Navarre, Colonel, US Marines

Park Semper Fi Marine Monument San Clemente &

The National Moment of Remembrance at 3 PM

San Clemente, California
Memorial Day Ceremony
Monday, May 25, 2009
starts 1:30 p.m.

Honoring the 1st Marine Division
Guest Speaker Major General Waldhauser
1st Marine Division Band
Static Marine Displays
Seating Limited

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference in the world. The Marines don’t have that problem – President Ronald Reagan

Those words can be found in the Photosynth I made of “Park Semper Fi” near my home in San Clemente California. If you want You can zoom thru the images to find the quote. Using a Nikon D60 I took 253 shots from all angles of the small park in the center of our “Little Spanish Village by the Sea”. Zooming in an out of point cloud (hit P on your keyboard) gives you the feel of being there in this 3D space generated with those 2D images. ( scroll mouse to zoom in and out ) The next step turning these point clouds into a wire frame models and then skinning those frames with the photos that generated them. Full photorealistic 3D worlds easily built buy anyone with a decent digital camera. If the above synth does not work for you, (sorry Windows IE and FF only) the rest of you, ( My Mac and Ubuntu friends ) please watch this youtube video demonstrating my favorite shiny new toy.

For those of you that can view the above synth, thank a Marine.