By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Moon walk added to memory banks

Fifty years ago, after Neil Armstrong took “One small step,” he and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. More than a half-billion people watched televised reports, and those still alive today are remembering where they were and what they felt on the night of July 20, 1969.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Half-century remembrances are so powerful because rich historic perspective gets shared by many people who lived through the event. For me, thinking back to the human heroics of Apollo 11 triggered numerous mental side trips.

After all, as stated so simply by the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia: “It is hard to overstate the importance of memory. It is what makes us who we are.”

We may forget yesterday’s breakfast, but we remember long-past events — especially those with strong emotional content.

Thinking about those 1969 footprints on the lunar surface sent me back to the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York. I was alone on a sprawling porch of a large building on a former tuberculosis hospital turned into an educational facility, and Apollo 11 had landed on the moon that afternoon.

Minutes before 10 p.m., I quietly watched a waxing, one-third-full moon that unbelievably was being explored on foot. Suddenly, that 1960s “Star Trek” series didn’t seem quite so far-fetched.

This week, like many others, I wondered why my moon-walk memory remained so clear and detailed. The search for answers sent me time-tripping through other clear memories of years past.

I remembered delivering newspapers, picking up walnuts and hitting tennis balls against the garage door; I envisioned my surroundings upon learning that JFK was assassinated and that four students were killed at Kent State.

Leap-frogging through decades, I saw vivid images of a sailboat off San Diego, televised Watergate hearings and slave cabins on the Magnolia Plantation. The mental slide show included a Life Flight from Bend, a lightning storm on Lava Lake, a visit to Rajneeshpuram and a night out in Moscow.

Closer to home, I easily envisioned an awkward marriage proposal, the birth of a son, a daughter’s wedding and dozens of fascinating local news stories.

Yes, man’s first walk on the moon was something to remember, particularly amplified by some great stories being told 50 years later. But it’s just one recollection among the treasure trove of memories each of us has tucked away in our minds.

As written by Irish novelist John Banville, “The past beats inside me like a seond heart.”

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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