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25 March 2012 TEAM MOON: HOW 400,000 PEOPLE LANDED APOLLO 11 ON THE MOON by Catherine Thimmesh, Houghton Mifflin, 2006, 80p., ISBN: 978-0-618-50757-3


“Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon

I hope my legs won’t break, walking on the moon.”



“’Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace…These brave men, Neil Armstrong and [Buzz] Aldren, know that there is no hope for their recovery.  But they also know there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.’

“Rest in peace?  On the moon?  Thankfully, no, those ominous words (penned in top secret for President Nixon) were never spoken.  ­­But while millions upon millions of people were spellbound and starry-eyed with moon mania (sitting, watching, waiting), those people behind the scenes fretted over more problems and concerns and plans for emergencies than the rest of the world could ever know.  The ‘Fate Has Ordained’ speech was to be delivered in the event that the worst possible scenario came to pass.  The speech’s very existence proved that, beneath all the excitement, those people running the show never for a moment lost sight of the all too real dangers they were choosing to run into head-on.  And though millions of eyes were focused front and center on the astronauts and the spacecraft, much of the action would, in fact, be taking place on the sidelines.’”


As a child of the sixties, three events stand out above all as moments that I still recall so clearly more than four decades later:  First, the assassination of President Kennedy; second, The Beatles on Ed Sullivan; and third, the moon landing.


We were all gathered in the dining hall at Woodworth Lake Scout Reservation that evening, staring up at a television, watching with awe. 


This book is so fascinating to me because I didn’t know what a computer was in 1969.  As a teenager that year, I understood less of the technology behind the moon landing than one of today’s second graders would grasp.  And so this is all fresh and exciting to even those of us who lived through it.    


Filled with iconic photographs, TEAM MOON is so fittingly titled.  Every single page tells the story why, when they designed the mission patch, the three astronauts chose not to have their names included in the design.  It was not their mission.  It was the mission of 400,000.


Richie Partington

Richie’s Picks http://richiespicks.com


Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/middle_school_lit/



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