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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Once in lifetime

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  • On Saturday, August 24th, I visited my uncle's farm near Towanda, Kansas. Then, I departed to travel to Hutchinson, Kansas to the Cosmosphere Space Museum. I had been to that museum before, but that day was an Opportunity of a Lifetime to attend a book-signing by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who is now age 83. As I left the Towanda farm, I passed by a nearby sheep and goat farm. As I passed by Wichita, I saw horse and cattle ranches. When I passed through Yoder, Kansas, I saw a few Mennonites with their horses and buggies. In a strange irony, all the while as I headed westward on highway K-96, I could see the Moon setting in the west. It reminded me of the man I was traveling to go see, Buzz Aldrin. I was looking at the same Moon that people have gazed at, for centuries.
    I was young in July 1969, but I vividly remember the launch of Apollo 11. Today, many people take for granted the achievements of the NASA Space Program. Many people forget the vision of President John F. Kennedy who wanted to inspire Americans to direct our energies toward "building" and "doing" and "accomplishing".  Kennedy was able to inspire and motivate a whole generation. That means a lot. In July 1969, three astronauts climbed into a vertical rocket for the Apollo 11 lunar mission
    I still remember the "countdown", such as "T minus two minutes". Then the pivotal "T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Zero, All engines running. Liftoff. We have a Liftoff, thirty-two minutes past the hour. Liftoff of Apollo 11. Tower cleared !!!" That was breath-taking.
    James A. Marples, Esbon.
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