The Eagle Has Landed


As I have gotten older, I have realized that my life – all lives – have bookmarks. A bookmark delineates what your life was before and after. Some are good, like a good marriage, children – and some horrible, such as the sudden death of a loved one.  Historical events can go either way. I remember where I was hearing about 9/11, or the assassination of the Kennedys.

Apollo 11 was a good bookmark.

In the summer of 1969 I got an interesting job at Sequoia National Park. I was flown to the back country in a Bell 47 to meet 4 other workers, and we cleared fallen trees and fixed trails in the back country  for a summer. Food and mail was flown in once a week and if you wanted to bathe you’d find a snow-fed stream. We hiked all summer carrying chainsaws and backpacks.

One summer evening we set up camp in a grove of redwoods. I can remember looking up in childlike wonder at night through those massive trees gazing at the moon and hearing the voice of Neil Armstrong on my small transistor radio.

I have discovered MarineMom  has a good eye for good movies, and she recommended First Man, a biopic of Neil Armstrong. I’ve come to value MarineMom’s opinion far more that Roger Ebert or Rex Reed.

It is worth seeing. When it comes to movies depicting historical figures and times, accuracy is critical for me. None of this “inspired by…” for me.

From what I know about Armstrong and his flight, they nailed it. What I didn’t know, such as the purpose of the Gemini program (I thought it was just a bigger Mercury capsule) was filled in.

While I knew this early spaceflight was dangerous (they show the 1967 fire in the Apollo capsule, necessitating a massive redesign), I didn’t know of the additional dangers.

If you want an entertaining movie that accurately depicts Armstrong and the early space program, I recommend First Man.

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