This past weekend commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 recovery by the aircraft carrier USS Hornet.
Some of you may remember my recent blog about my ghost hunt/paranormal investigation of the Hornet a few weeks back.
I returned on Saturday with half of the kids (unfortunately two of the kids were with their mom and our 12-year-old didn't want to go) to celebrate the Hornet's Splashdown Celebration. The main highlight was an appearance, lecture, and book signing by the second man to ever walk on the Moon--Buzz Aldrin.
I have been to many events to meet a famous person. But NOTHING compared to the this, in terms of the level of excitement and importance. No pun intended, but there WAS a real buzz in the air...a sense that we were all there for something ENORMOUS. This wasn't a rock star or an athlete or a typical author.
This was a man who the history books will remember for ALL TIME. That's pretty HUGE.
It was standing room only by the time we got there and we later found out that more than 4,000 packed aboard the famous aircraft carrier to witness history.
What an amazing feeling to be in that room with him. Many of the people there were actually ON the Hornet the day of the recovery, 40 years prior. This was the same man who came aboard and waved at everyone after just coming back from a place man thought impossible to travel to for lifetimes.
I got goosebumps, literally.
Sales of his book, Magnificent Desolation sold out early in the day. And the lines soon formed, 100 people per line, each group holding up a letter of the alphabet.
Hours later...we were face to face with this amazing man. Due to the size of the crowd, it was understandable but disappointing to not be able to get a personal picture with the legendary fighter pilot and astronaut. But he looked up and smiled and me and the kids and we have his autographed book, too, to keep forever with the memories.
My 6 and 10 year old boys were very patient and may not fully understand the true magnitude of what they witnessed.
But I assured them it will be an event they will recount to their grand kids someday. And their grand kids will pass it on as well for year more to come.
Being in that room 40 years after one of the greatest events in human history gave me an even greater appreciation for what THAT day must have been like. Awesome and incomparable.
Thanks to all the countless volunteers--many of them veterans--on the Hornet helping keep sanity in a setting that could have ended in chaos.
And thanks to Buzz Aldrin for having the courage to do what he did. And for sharing the amazing story for all of us today.