I vividly remember watching the awesome drama of the first moonwalk on July 20, 1969. I was in a National Science Foundation summer archaeology project. The most modern and the most ancient thus commingled in front of the black and white TV in the Student Union of Clarion State College in the company of our teaching aide, Carol. Magical.
We later learned that there was another drama taking place at Tranquility Base, in secret. It was a drama that anticipated a culture clash reaching virulence today.
Huffington Post Religion, in 2014, presented that drama in The Moon Communion of Buzz Aldrin That NASA Did Not Want To Broadcast:
“As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin prepared to take ‘one small step for man,’ Aldrin wanted to commemorate the moment in a way he found most personally meaningful — by taking communion.
Aldrin, a church elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, Texas, at the time, spoke to his pastor Dean Woodruff to try to find a way to symbolize the wonder and awe of the moon landing a few weeks before lift-off. Aldrin said, “We wanted to express our feeling that what man was doing in this mission transcended electronics and computers and rockets.”
“Aldrin wrote about the experience a year later….
‘In the radio blackout I opened the little plastic packages which contained bread and wine.
‘I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.’”
That Holy Communion wine, curling slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup, was the idyll. The secret drama?
“[Aldrin] originally wanted for the experience to be broadcast with the rest of his comments, but was discouraged by NASA, which was at the time fighting a lawsuit brought by atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair. She sued them over the public reading of Genesis by the crew of Apollo 8, citing the status of astronauts as government employees and the separation of church and state to support her case.”
Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics.