06-17-2012, 05:39 PM
East Meadow, Long Island, NY
Two young boys, JD and Costa Sarantakos, watched intently as the grainy televised image of the Saturn V rocket carrying the three Apollo 11 astronauts rose heavenward in a billowing plume of smoke and flame. In a matter of hours, if all went well, they would be the first men to fufill the late John F. Kennedy's goal of landing men on the moon by the end of the decade. The very prospect of traveling through space excited the two brothers and kept them riveted in front of the small twenty-inch television set in the living room. They were glad it was summer vacation: it would have been a shame to miss the Apollo moon launch just because of school. Even at their young age, this wasn't just a news broadcast--this was history in the making before their very eyes!
Their seventeen-month-old baby brother, Christopher, sat between them, oblivious to the significance of the event, despite his older brothers' enthusiasm. "Look, Christopher!" JD said, pointing at the screen, "See the big rocket ship? It's going to the moon!"
Baby Christopher's infant eyes darted from the TV screen to JD to Costa and back again. All he knew was that they were happy about something, and that gave him a sense of well-being. Even so, JD and Costa kept a running commentary to fill him in.
"Didja see that, Christopher?" Costa said excitedly as the first stage rocket of the Saturn V broke away, thrusting the third stage S-IVB rocket enging with the Apollo crew out of the Earth's orbit and into space. "Didja see that? That was so neat!" A big smile almost dominated his small face. "Yeah! That was neat, wasn't it?"
Christopher smiled only because Costa was smiling back at him. Whatever it was that made his brothers happy made him happy, too, though he was too young to appreciate the reason why. He could not comprehend the momentious occasion being played out on millions of television sets across America and the rest of the world. The dull, grey shadows on the TV set piqued no interest in him; he just wanted to be warm, safe, well-fed and loved.
Time wore on. The Apollo Eagle lunar module capsule was approaching the lunar surface, having broken away from the Columbia command module. Its pilot, Michael Collins, would remain in orbit to rendezvous with the Eagle, after Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin had spent almost a day on the surface of the moon. The two older boys were estatic. They were actually going to see the moon! What would when they got there? What would it look like? They had already dismissed the fanciful tale a neighbor of theirs had told them of the moon being made of green cheese, but the possibilities at that point in time remained endless.
Their baby brother, however, started to grow restless. He squirmed around in JD's arms and began to whimper. As much as he enjoyed his older siblings' company, sitting in one place for so long made him cranky. This irritated JD, who didn't want to miss one single moment of the moon landing. In desperation, he called out, "Mom! Christopher's being a pain again!"
The boys's mother, a sweet-faced young woman named Dimitra, entered the living room at once and scooped up the crying infant. "He's just tired, honey," she spoke in a heavily accented voice. "It's time for his nap."
She carried her youngest son into the nursery, leaving JD and Costa in peace. The two other boys remained transfixed before the television, holding their collective breath as the module drifted across the dusty grey lunar surface. They followed every staticky command, every acknowledgement, the word "copy" repeated over and over again following a high-pitched beep.
"Okay, engine stop. ACA out of detent."
"Out of detent. Auto."
"Mode control--both auto. Descent engine command override off. Engine arm--off. Four-one-three is in."
"We copy you down, Eagle."
"Engine arm is off."
Dimitra laid her baby son in his crib. "There you go, honey," she crooned. "Now you be a good boy and go to sleep now, okay?"
Lying in his crib, his mother's gentle face hovering over him, the sense of well-being returned, and baby Christopher drifted off to sleep to the words of Commander Neil Armstrong:
"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
Last edited by Veritas; 06-18-2012 at 05:38 PM.