Merry Christmas

Forty years ago today, Earth got a sense of how small it was in the Universe.

Apollo VIII Earthrise

It had been a terrible year: The Tet Offensive, the assassination of MLK, and the assassination of RFK. [We wouldn’t know that Nixon would be an unmitigated disaster for a few more years yet.] And up until August of that year, we didn’t think Apollo VIII would be any different than the other warmup flights for the Apollo series; but then the decision was made to have Borman, Lovell, and Anders transit to the moon and orbit.

Can you imagine that mission briefing? “Okay, boys. We’re going to send you [millions, er, ]hundreds of thousands of miles form Earth, right at Christmas, but you can’t go land on that hunk of rock. Have fun and ad astra per aspera.” I’d have been both honored to go and disappointed that I couldn’t go all the way.

Anders, Lovell, and Borman didn’t read American propoganda during their broadcast. They read the first few verses of the KJV translation of Genesis. I think they had it right—this was a moment for all of mankind, not just the American taxpayers who’d footed the bill to send them there. One may quibble that Borman’s move [it was his idea], repeated today, would go over like a lead balloon in this politically correct culture; I would instead argue that Borman was simply being true to himself and his faith.

I urge that you do likewise.

As I won’t be near a computer tomorrow … Merry Christmas from me to you.

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