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It is not often you get to be in the presence of a genuine

hero, but last night at the American Cinematheque's

screening of Tony Palmer's "The Space Movie", one

Buzz Aldrin was in attendance and along with giving

a brief introduction to the film with the film's director,

Tony Palmer(who also made the rock documentary

classics "All My Loving" and "All You Need Is Love"),

Buzz stuck around for a Q & A session afterwards.

I shouldn't have to tell you who Buzz Aldrin is, but with

the state of American education today, maybe I should

just to be safe.

Simply put...Buzz was the second man to walk on the moon,

after Neil Armstrong, as part of the Apollo 11 mission when

they became the first men to land on the moon July 20, 1969.

They were part of a larger group of men who shall remain

legendary for their inspiration and for representing the best

qualities of mankind: intelligence, resourcefulness, ingenuity,

comraderie, courage.

I speak of the men of the NASA space mission, which began

with the Mercury project, and then continued with the Gemini

and Apollo programs.

If you are a citizen of the United States, this was one of our

country's finest achievements...hell, you don't even have to

be American, as it was one of mankind's proudest moments,


Anyway, last night was a special treat for the couple hundred

of us in attendance, as along with the screening of "The Space

Movie" (which was commissioned by NASA in 1978 to celebrate

the then upcoming 10th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing

and features a score by Mike Oldfield, better known to most of

you as the guy who did "Tubular Bells", which was used in "The

Exorcist"), they also showed the video NASA created for the event

this past February when they beamed the Beatles' song "Across

the Universe" into space, to honour the 40th anniversary of the


Then, as if things couldn't get better, or weirder, depending on

your perspective, after the screening and the Q & A, I hit the

men's restroom and found myself standing right next to Mr. Aldrin

as we both took a leak.

No, I did not strike up a conversation...as that is bad form; you

don't talk to a man while he is trying to urinate. I waited 'til we

were out of the restroom to strike up a conversation.

He stuck around and signed stuff for people, and they also sold

dvd's of the Space movie in the lobby, which he was also signing.

A day later and I am still buzzing(sorry, hehe) over meeting Buzz;

definitely a highlight of my year and life. If you are around my age

or older, you remember the awe and thrill surrounding all those

Apollo launchings...being in California, we would have to get up

extra early to watch them.

Then the long days and weeks tracking their progress in the sky

and watching Walter Cronkite on the evening news with some

scientists explaining where and what they were doing.

To this day, I don't remember a thing about my birthday in 1969,

as I was still in the clouds about the moon landing, which happened

just before my birthday.

If anybody else wants to share their memories, be my guest.

However, if you are one of those nutjobs that thinks the moon landings

were a hoax, sell your wacko conspiracy theories somewhere else...don't

post them here.

Same thing if you want to complain that we shouldn't have been sending

men to the moon while people were starving on Earth...I don't want to

hear it.

The Apollo missions, and the NASA space program, in general, was a

landmark in history and one for which we are still deriving benefits from

30, 40, 50 years later.

What's the point of being a superpower if you can't multitask?

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I literally grew up on the whole space race. Mercury, Gemini, Apollo. For me it was the very best of America. We would watch every waking moment of every flight and the world seemed like a place that nothing was impossible. People can call it what they want but I can tell you that here in Canada on the day of the moon landing, we were proud. Proud that the human race could actually achieve the goal and we , even though not American, felt a part of it. Now let's find a cure for cancer

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I always liked Buzz Aldrin. He always impressed me as being outside the box a bit. There was an excellent show on going to the Moon a couple weeks ago. Remember when Apollo 11 was searching the Moon for a landing sight ? The on-board computer of the lunar module overloaded and Neil Armstrong had to manually find a landing site with only a few seconds of fuel remaining. The reason the on-board computer overloaded was because unknown to Mission Control, Buzz left the rendezvous program running when he wasn't supposed to. They never figured this out until they returned. When they asked him why, he said...."I wanted make sure that if something went wrong, we could get the hell out of there !". Of all the astronauts, he also seemed to be the guy who was the most personally affected by going into space.

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Thanks for this thread and for sharing your story about meeting Buzz Aldrin.

I am another one who grew up with the space race. I remember that whenever a launch happened during a school day, all of the students would be shepherded into the gym where we would sit on the floor, straining to see the images on a television that was wheeled in for the occasion. My husband went to Catholic school and, when a launch was about to happen, the nuns required that the students pray for the astronauts.

The interest in space and space exploration that was awakened in me during that era has stayed with me. It must have made an impact on me because, in school, my favorite subjects were math, science, and technology. Both my husband and I still keep abreast of what is going on with regard to space exploration. Granted it's a NASA site, but here you can read about the benefits of space exploration: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/nasacity/index2.htm and here is an essay in defense of space exploration: http://www-tech.mit.edu/V123/N66/mattsilver.66c.html

Ally, you’re so right about, during that era, there was a feeling that anything was possible. There was also that sense of pride in what humans could and did achieve. 10-15 years after the moon landing, when my husband and I were backpacking through small towns and villages in developing and/or emerging nations, we would sometimes encounter teachers who would invite us to speak to their classes – simply because their students had never met Americans. Invariably, there would always be at least one student who would ask us about space exploration - and always about the moon landing. While there are now few places in the world where students haven’t met Americans, I would imagine that the urge to explore worlds that exist beyond our own will always persist.

At this stage in my life, it seems unlikely that it would ever happen but, I can say that if someone offered me a place on the space shuttle, I would go in a heartbeat.

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Great story. Thanks for sharing.

Not to change the subject, but i to have been next to some amazing, immortal people too.

Back in 1986-87, i was living in the Dallas/Ft Worth area, i took on a part-time job working for a sports information company from the East Coast at the old Arlington Stadium, which was the Texas Rangers home. Exactly what this SI co. did was unknown to me, although some of the ligit press people said they were supplying info to gamblers, etc. I didn't care because it got me a pass in the auxilliary press box, which unlike the main one where all the stuffed shirt, big ego newspaper guys were, the cool people hung out. We were a small party of about a dozen or so and got to know each other fairly well. My only job was to score the game and phone in any action, ie; scoring, pitching/lineup changes, injuries or anything unusual, like someone getting tossed out. For the most part, it was mundane, but the best part was the people that I met. One of the perks, since I had a hard time getting paid from this SI company, was getting to eat in the press cafeteria. That's where all of the media types were. Here's a short list of the people I met, or at least saw: Al Michaels, Don Drysdale, Billy Martin, Bob Eucker, Phil Rizzuto, Ernie Harwell, Mel Allen, Joe DiMaggio, and many others. Most of these folks, i never talked to because 1) it isn't cool to interrupt people when they're eating and 2) it's not in me to act like i'm a autograph seeking groupie. But, like you, i found myself sitting across the table from Mr. Mantle, who i consider one of the all time baseball greats, and I was so nervous, i could barely eat my lunch. He never said anything, but he kept looking at me, like i was going to ask him something. It was very, very awkward. On the other hand, Mr Rizzuto, who passed last year i think, was the kindest, most sincere person i've ever met. He chatted with me for several minutes, and I wasn't leading the conversation. Same with Ernie Harwell, the legendary former Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster. When I told him I was from Michigan, he asked where, and said if I wanted to say hi to anyone back home, write it down and he would get it out on the air. Just an amazing person.

So those are just a few memories I can cherish and take with me.

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