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Amazing, wondrous and beautiful

By Staff | Jul 23, 2009

To the editor,

I always enjoy glimpses into Joe Pacheco’s mind (he has my vote as the nation’s next Poet Laureate) and I found his piece on the first lunar landing (“Where Were You On July 20, 1969?” July 17, Islander) especially fascinating.

It has never occurred to me that anyone could regret an event as historic as the first human to set foot on the moon. The fact that the feat was accomplished in an age of tender scientific knowledge and crude tools compared to today, and that it was done just 8 years after President Kennedy declared on May 25, 1961 that the United States should put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the decade, make it all the more incredible in retrospect.

Joe laments the loss of “beauty and belief and fancies” the moment Neil Armstrong stepped from the ladder of the lunar module “Eagle” to the dusty surface of the moon. I celebrate the birth that day of a different kind of beauty – that of a briefly visited but still unknown and mysterious celestial body; a stronger belief – in the power of collective human will and ingenuity; and a fancier fancy – the book Goodnight Moon was changed forever that day, and for the better.

So Joe, next full moon step outside, look up and marvel at the amazing, wondrous and beautiful thing that happened 40 years ago. And have a happy birthday.

Mark Twombly