"The Eagle has landed!" —Apollo II Commander Neil A. Armstrong
"A magnificent desolation!" — Air Force Colonel Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr.
July 20, 1969
That afternoon in mid-July,
Two pilgrims watched from distant space
The moon ballooning in the sky.
They rose to meet it face-to-face.
Their spidery spaceship, Eagle, dropped
Down gently on the lunar sand.
And when the module's engines stopped,
Rapt silence fell across the land.
The first man down the ladder, Neil,
Spoke words that we remember now—
“One small step...” It made us feel
As if we were there too, somehow.
When Neil planted the flag and Buzz
Collected lunar rocks and dust,
They hopped like kangaroos because
Of gravity. Or wanderlust?
A quarter million miles away,
One small blue planet watched in awe.
And no one who was there that day
Will soon forget the sight they saw.
J. Patrick Lewis, "First Men on the Moon" from A Burst of Firsts: Doers, Shakers, and Record Breakers, published by The Dial Press. Copyright © 2001 by J. Patrick Lewis. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Source: A Burst of Firsts: Doers, Shakers, and Record Breakers
(The Dial Press, 2001)
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