Mission led to worry, wonder; Bowman resident: ‘I really didn't think they could do it’

Mission led to worry, wonder; Bowman resident: ‘I really didn't think they could do it’

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072019 lunar reax

In this July 20, 1969 photo made available by NASA, astronaut Buzz Aldrin Jr. stands next to the Passive Seismic Experiment device on the surface of the the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.

• This story by John Faust originally appeared in The T&D on July 25, 1969.

Apprehension was the main feeling of a great number of Greater Orangeburg area residents Thursday as the Apollo 11 spacemen approached and made their Pacific Ocean splashdown concluding their epic and immortal eight-day journey.

Clifton Attaway of Rivelon Road in Orangeburg noted that he had been "with it right since they launched from Florida, and I'm watching it right now."

Attaway, 56, noted that "it's a curiosity," explaining that when he was younger the moon was something to just look at and wonder about.

"I'll tell you," he said, "I was worried a little about their return."

Mark Brown, 11, of the Columbia Road and a student at H.A. Marshall Elementary, was positive in his reactions.

"I enjoyed them getting back safely," he said. "If they hadn't, we wouldn't have gotten some information they didn't give over the radio from the moon, things we need to know."

A somewhat surprising reaction from an 11-year-old, but somewhat in keeping with the increased awareness of the younger generation.

Mrs. Henry Herring of Bowman said she didn't get the opportunity to watch the televised splashdown of the Apollo 11 capsule, but felt relieved the trio had made a safe return.

"I really didn't think they could do it," she said, referring to the entire mission.

Another Bowman resident expressed the opinion that it was hard to gain an entire comprehension of the moon shot and walk.

"It's just too big to get the full impact," she said. "Now they'll have to go through 18 days of quarantine before they can really say they're finished with the actual mission."

The Bowman citizen went one step further and said that she hoped to be around when the projected Mars flight took place sometime in the 1980s.

Believe it or not, there was one area resident located, purely by random calling from the telephone book, who hadn't watched television or read a newspaper during the entire course of the Apollo 11 mission.

"I heard something about it," said the lady, "but, I haven't paid much attention."

When informed of the full extent of the NASA accomplishment, the only reaction over the telephone was, "Land sakes," and a very mild one at that.

It remained in the province of Orangeburg High School Principal John Hudgens to take a full look as to how the Apollo 11 mission would make itself felt in the Orangeburg area.

"Everybody has said it's great and I follow on that. However, the real benefits will be found in the spinoff into education. Sputnik put great amounts of money into science and math courses in schools and we, this country, are beginning to reap the benefits of those efforts,” he said.

The OHS principal said the publicity involved in the Apollo 11 shot would, in his opinion, motivate children in their studies.

“The flight itself will prove some theories," he said, "and open entirely new fields in other areas.

"A person going into science classes at OHS this fall will definitely feel the impact of the moon shot, psychologically and through information gathered on the flight."

Hudgens went on to say that the actual benefits of the flight would not come from the physical fact of putting man's foot on the moon, but from the numerous sciences, methods and industries developed in the road leading to the moon landing and return.


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