7/20/2019
Nostalgia

It's not exactly my curiosity about how the Americans - no, wait, sorry, how mankind - managed to bring one of their, our, own to the surface of the Moon, but rather, my curiosity about how television covered it all. Thankfully there are many nerds like me out there, who managed to be alive at the time, and more importantly, record the whole thing, or most of it, on tape. Certainly they recorded the most important moments - the moment Neil Armstrong, after having to take control of the lunar module when he realized their designated landing spot was too rocky, finally announced that they have touched the surface; the moment Walter Cronkite broke his usual composure, shed a tear, and said, "oh, boy!"

And you felt that, not just because the moon landing - and, first off, I've no space for your flat-earth Hollywood-studio theories - is, and remains, the most important human achievement ever, but because it really is a win considering all the chaos that the decade brought.

Okay, I'm seeing this from the American perspective, because that's what I've been watching for the past few months, without realizing that fifty years since the event is just around the corner. I've seen clips of Walter Cronkite talk about tensions with the Soviet Union, about the slow burn that was the Vietnam War, about the assassinations of Kennedy, King and Kennedy. If you're an American who lived through the time, you would have thought, man, it is a bad time, huh?

Suddenly, we were on the moon, and for a moment, all that's been forgotten. Sure, you can talk about how it's propaganda, or how it's really something only white people can celebrate, but still, we were on the moon. We are on the moon. We launched a rocket, did all those tricky maneuvers, got ourselves some rocks as proof, and later on, went back to Earth. We are on the moon, and back. The one thing the vintage clips that surfaced over the past week doesn't quite capture is how we all celebrated (I think) when the mission objectives were achieved.

I was listening again to The Race for Space, the brilliant album from British duo Public Service Broadcasting, and got curious about how it all went down at the time. Did they care? Was it a concern only for those who were involved? Were there too many problems that we didn't had the energy to pay attention? Was the worldwide jubilation just in my imagination, my inference, or was it really how I thought it would be? How did we, a country halfway around the world, react? Too bad the tapes of Philippine channels' coverage were likely wiped.

And now, fifty years later, when everything seems to just be going to shit, would another such event make us pause and realize that, amidst all this polarity and hostility, we're ultimately all in this together? Or is this just nostalgia for something that didn't really happen in the first place?

And your responses...

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