GJCF looks to showcase national history

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     This July will be celebrated as the anniversary of a pretty miraculous affair in our nation’s history.

     Saturday, July 20 will be the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

     Now, anyone over the age of 50 likely recalls watching footage of astronaut Neal Armstrong on their TV screen that evening saying, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” In 1969, only about 20 percent of households had access to watching Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk out of Apollo 11 and take their first steps on the moon’s surface.

     Armstrong and Aldrin spent about two hours outside of the aircraft on the moon’s surface. A total of about 21 hours was spent on the moon overall, between landing Apollo 11, collecting data and “moon dust.” It was history. It had never been done before.

     So, 50 years to the date, this July 20, to celebrate and honor this history-making event, you may want to be in attendance at the Chris Stapleton concert at the Great Jones County Fair for what’s being hinted as yet another local history-maker.

     At almost the same exact time as the moon landing, Fair Manager John Harms is planning to show footage of the moon landing, a montage of sorts, via the production equipment on the stage.

     “Nothing comes close to the landing on the moon by humanity,” Harms said. “It elicited some pretty positive emotions.”

     Harms said the Apollo 11 landing stimulated excitement and patriotism all over the country. People saw the greatest achievement by NASA and felt immediate and prolonged pride in what the U.S. was able to accomplish.

     Harms and the fair board hope to bring this event to the GJCF public on the anniversary.

     “We’ll have a break in the program, a countdown to the moment (of the moon landing), and have a video playing on stage,” explained Harms. “There’s an energy there to do something and utilize this real significant time.”

     I’ll share with you, as Harms was relaying this information with me about a month ago, there was a ton of excitement in his voice. He was pretty proud to be able to utilize the GJCF as a catalyst to showcase a major event in our nation’s history.

     I felt bad my excitement didn’t match John’s… In my mid-30s, obviously I wasn’t around for this monumental event. I can’t imagine how it felt seeing an event like this live on TV. Of course, throughout my life, I’ve seen the actual footage of the moon landing. I’ve read about it. I know who was involved. I know what was involved.

     But I can relate to the pride and patriotism it established in our country. There have been other moments in my lifetime that sparked a true sense of patriotism: 9/11, the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, the death of Saddam Hussein, the death of Osama bin Laden, the capture of the Boston Marathon bombers. More recently, seeing the nation come together and morn the passing of Sen. John McCain.

     The GJCF brings people of all ages, all generations together. And they will continue that tradition yet again this summer not only by breaking more records, but joining the nation in recalling one of the biggest events “for mankind.”



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