The summer of ’69: The lunar landing – July 20


Dear Friends,

I had said (tongue in cheek) that I had set off a chain of events for the Summer of ’69 with my ordination to the Catholic priesthood on May 24th of that year.

I did a blog on the second event which was as almost equally unknown as my event in Orlando — the Stonewall riots in New York City that is marked as the beginning of the Civil Rights movement of gay people (though I hate that word.)  You might check out my blog on that event posted on June 28th.  Be sure to read my reply to the comment below about how we can overcome our prejudices.

images-2I also had a very personal connection to the Apollo ll flight to the moon.  I arrived at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in early June with the holy oils fresh on my hands as a baby priest.  Father David Page, editor of the Florida Catholic newpaper asked me to write the lead piece for that publication reflecting on the spiritual significance of that event.  What an honor that was!  But since my files are still unpacked after moving here to Lauderale 11 months ago, I couldn’t possibly find it right now.

Holy Name had many of the men who sat in the Mission Control room which you will see in the video below were in our parish, including Paul Donnelly, the launch director for Apollo 11.  I was very aware of what a privilege that was.  Mr. Donnelly had given my parents an intimate tour of the cape and I was permitted to eve to step into a LEM for a later lunar flight!

It was my duty to stay in the parish for the July 16th lift off while the pastor was a guest at the launch site.

Here are three videos to recapture that event.

The first is a the actual lunar landing.

images The second is a narrative by Buzz Aldrin recounting an unidentified object flying along near  them.   Hmmm. I wonder . . .

The third is a photo album of pictures from NASA for that flight.

Forty years later I wonder if we have any kind of connection with the heavens above any longer.

I wonder if we have the sense of wonder we had back then. We take everything for granted.

I wonder if we wonder when we look at the moon.  If we’re ever moon struck any more.

I often muse about the crew of Christopher Columbus charting their course over the vast unexplored ocean by their knowledge of the heavens above.

I wonder how many of us have seen the Milky Way on a really dark night away from city light pollution?

What has happened to our sense of wonder and exploration since 9/11?

Where do we really fit in this world? In this universe?

Do we have any sense of connectedness or communion with anything bigger than us?

What’s it all about?

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

2 thoughts on “The summer of ’69: The lunar landing – July 20

  1. Bill Rose September 9, 2009 / 3:17 pm

    Yes, those were high flying moments in the 60’s and we were full of expectation and wonder. Ready to serve and engage. Ready to consecrete and forgive. Only to realize how difficult it is for folks and ourselves to change, to transform. And now as we look back at those 40 years we can only smile and be grateful.

  2. Loren Christie July 28, 2009 / 2:20 am

    Hi Fr. Bob, Great post! On a plane this weekend to Chicago I thought about this very idea, marveling suddenly at the smallness of myself, and the even smaller objects that I fret over.

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