Neil Armstrong’s autograph on my photo of him.  May, 1976 narrating “The Ballad of Valley Forge” a musical composition based on George Washington’s diary he kept while camped at Valley Forge.

After working as a farmer for seventeen years my father became an eight grade science teacher in 1958. Since I was born in 1950, I can remember as a nine year old lying in the field next to my maternal grandparent’s home and watching the night sky to see the passing of sputnik. My father could tell us in the general direction it would come from and you just waited until you saw a little light moving through the night sky. You really had no sense of motion except that that light seemed to be getting closer to a stationary star or planet. Once it was spotted it was only a few minutes before it disappeared.

Harvey Berkhouse, Bill Wilson and David Wilson. Photo from author’s private collection.

I can remember lying on the ground next to my grandfather and thinking that he was born before man learned to fly. When he was growing up trains and boats were the fastest way to transport people. I thought it was awesome that within his lifetime he had gone from witnessing man’s first flight to seeing a man-made object circling the globe in 90 minutes. I often wondered what the equivalent will be in my lifetime.
Ten years later we went from orbiting satellites to landing a man on the moon. Even though the 1960’s were a decade of change, Neil Armstrong’s achievement and the optimism it encapsulated, immortalized forever in the phrase, “If we can land a man on the moon, why can’t we….” will always be remembered.


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