I was at the Apollo 11 Liftoff

45 years ago, Apollo 11 lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.  I remember it well.  I was there. liftoff

My father was an artist.  He worked at Channel 12 in Richmond, designing their sets and painting their logos and “Be right back” slides in the days before computer graphics.  He quit in 1969 when I was nine years old. We moved to Florida and he got a job with NASA’s art department.

This was an exciting time to be in Florida, because less than an hour away from us, they were building Walt Disney World. We rented a house in Titusville and Dad worked for NASA. He hated it — it was run like a military operation, even for the artists, and he quit soon thereafter and we moved back to Richmond, Virginia, where I had been born and had grown up.

But I did get to be on the beach watching Apollo 11 lift off. For a nine year old who wanted (among many other things) to be an astronomer, that was pretty cool. I had read so many books on the planets and could name all nine of them and their moons. (Yes, back then we had nine planets and only about 12 moons among them.)

The only other real memory I have of that day was when an older kid I knew told me that he worked for the local newspaper. He put a dime in the newspaper box and took out all of the papers, and then we rode our bikes down the street, selling papers to the cars that were stranded because of all the people trying to get to see the lift-off. It wasn’t until years later that I thought about it and realized he had stolen all those papers, but at the time I was so happy that I came home with three dollars or so. Hey, at least the people stuck in their cars had something to read.

It’s very sad that we now don’t think science is worth spending money on.

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