July 20th: A personal recollection


Wednesday July 20th 2005 was the 36th anniversary of one of mankind's greatest achievements. On that day in 1969, Apollo 11 landed safely on the moon, in the monumentally—historic '...one giant leap for mankind.'

Our family was at Fenway Park in Boston, watching a double—header between the Red Sox and the now—defunct Washington Senators. Midway through the second game, the public address announcer broke into the game to announce, 'Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please...United States' astronauts on Apollo 11 have just landed safely on the surface of the moon!'

Thirty—five thousand people sat in stunned silence. Then as the news began to sink in, the crowd rose almost simultaneously as one, screaming and cheering wildly. The stadium organist picked up on the immediacy of the moment and played the Star Spangled Banner, and the thousands in attendance sang along as loudly, joyfully, and as uninhibited as can be imagined. The players on the field all stood at attention, caps in hand. What an incredible, spontaneous, once—in—a—lifetime event! No one turned away from the flag in protest or spoke derisively about wanting the mission to fail. The unabashed, unapologetic, totally committed pride and patriotism shared by everyone at the park left an indelible impression on this teenager of what love of country is really all about.

Is July 20th 1969 even spoken about today or taught in our schools? Probably not, but it certainly ranks among this country's most important dates, and it should take its place alongside November 11th, December 7th, September 2nd, and September 11th as one of the most important dates in American history of the last 100 years.

Steve Feinstein   7 20 05