The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 23, 2009

Local Reactions to the First Moon Landing

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 12:59 am

As you are most likely aware, this Monday marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, a momentous occasion which I arrived on this planet about nine years too late to witness for myself, but one which I have read about with great interest over the past few days leading up to the actual anniversary.  One thing that strikes me about the whole thing is that in spite of the hundreds of people and huge budgets involved, there still seems to be the vague sense of a duct tape and bailing wire feel to the whole operation.  Even today it seems people like to talk about the “space age” technology in their products, seemingly unaware that the Space Age (or at least the interesting part of it anyway) happened back in the Sixties.  Of course, in spite of forty years of technological advancement between then and now, the reality is that there’s no way we can actually get back to the moon anytime soon, and few people willing to do more than pay lip service to the idea of doing so.  I’d like to think that will change someday, but it seems that (some) people these days are more interested in a return to the Stone Age than a return to the Space Age.

Nonetheless, when Apollo 11 made its historic visit to the Moon, the extensive TV coverage of the event made it one of those “where were you” moments that sticks with an entire generation of people.  In commemoration of the Event, the July 24th 1969 edition of the East Side Journal featured a number of anecdotes from Eastsiders on how they (or in one case, their children) experienced this historic event.

Click for larger version

Click for larger version

 Reverend Roland Hutchinson of the Kirkland Congregational Church (who, according to the church’s own history, had just become their minister in February of 1969, and would remain as such until February of 1993)  used this opportunity to reflect on the significance of this event, and made comparisons to the pilgrims who had come across to settle America.  Meanwhile, another Kirkland resident by the name of Russ Hulet discussed the excitement of his children over the launch of the Saturn V rocket on which the three astronauts would make their journey, and the improvised repair to a non-functioning alarm clock to ensure that they would awaken on time to watch the liftoff. 

Click for larger version

Click for larger version

Other reactions printed in the paper included those of Lake Washington High School Science teacher George Palo, and two engineers from United Controls, a local company which had prepared a number of components for use in the Apollo Program.  Mr. Palo wrote briefly about the accomplishment as a product of society as a whole and the knowledge and learning it had accumulated over its history, and emphasized the need to continue to prepare for challenges ahead.  Phillip Linwick and T.M. Thomsen of United Controls talked (very) briefly about what it felt like to actually be involved in the preparations for the moon shot. 

Surprisingly, the same day’s edition of the Bellevue American made hardly any mention of the moon landing, opting instead to allocate its headline to the announcement of the soon-to-be-built Sears store in the Overlake neighborhood.  I don’t think there were even any special moon sales going on the ads or anything like that.  Either way, there didn’t seem to be much of interest (with regards to the current subject anyway) in that paper.

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