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The Apollo Mission: A Family Affair

A group portrait of NASA’s Apollo 11 astronauts posing with their families around a model of the moon in March 1969. Pictured are: (at top, from left) the astronaut Michael Collins; his children, Mike, Kate, and Ann; and his wife, Pat; (at left) the astronaut Buzz Aldrin; his wife, Joan; and his children, Mike, Jan, and Andy; and (at right) the astronaut Neil Armstrong; his wife, Jan; and his sons, Ricky and Mark. Apollo 11 Preparation

Michael and Pat Collins and their children enjoying a relaxing pancake breakfast in March 1969

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  • Dan Patterson July 19, 2019, 11:40 AM

    What a time, what a lovely and energetic, and hopeful, and optimistic world we created and thrived within. No matter your age or station, profession or birthright we were all surrounded by achievement and the sharp edges of failure that made success so much more satisfying. And it was a “we” then, wasn’t it? Families, roles, responsibilities, simpler distractions than today and that gave us time and reason to hope more deeply and try more earnestly. The photos betray not a hint of what it took for those men to accomplish what they did, neither do they tell us what it took for the families to remain families without spinning out of orbit because of some feigned outrage or other.
    “We” didn’t go to the moon but we were on the team that did and it was a stupendous event that seemed, even at the time, completely out of a science fiction story. But it was not a story, it was real.
    Yes I know, memories do often obscure the ugly truth; they can paint it over like a stripper’s makeup and only allow us to see what is meant to be seen, and the toll isn’t a folded bill in a g-string but a Pollyanna memorial to the good and only the good with the faults conveniently removed.
    But look closely at those photographs, read the contemporary accounts, and talk to people who were there. It was exactly like that.

  • Nori July 19, 2019, 9:24 PM

    Extremely well said,Dan Patterson.
    My Mom’s brother was one of those nameless,faceless,white shirt,pocket protector guys who sent extraordinary men into the universe.
    It WAS exactly like that.
    The entire world watched,and shared the enormity of what was happening.
    It was “We” then. How strangely foreign that seems now.