[ LOOK TO SEE ]
— video b/ dave. (originalnoise.org)
“Look at the Ball of Fire!”
A woman named Rose shrieks as she tries to get the attention of her 5-year-old grandson, making sure he doesn’t miss seeing a manned rocket being launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Rose and Josh represented two of the three generations of their family there that day. The family had just purchased the small turn-of-the-20th-Century cottage on the Indian River in North Cocoa.
This was their first visit, as a group … after making the 130-mile ride up from their Plantation home (west of Fort Lauderdale), they sat enjoying the serenity of everyday life on the Indian River, and then, like no other place on Earth, they watched excitedly as a space shuttle ignites with a ball of fire, and rises quickly into the sky, and not too long after, out of site.
Along for the ride that day, was my mother, who more than 40 years earlier had taken my brother, my sister, and me into our front yard in Cocoa to watch Alan Shepard‘s launch, and his becoming the first American to ride the flame into outer space (May 5, 1961).
2806 Shepard Drive
(July 16, 1969) — Eight years later, at our house at 2806 (Alan) Shepard Drive, we watched excitedly as Apollo 11 left on its voyage to the moon.
(July 20, 1969) — Four days later, the same group and our father were up late, in the living room, and on our brand-new, Sears & Roebuck color TV, watching the grainy, black and white image of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon, and delivered what might be the most memorable line in all of time.
“That’s One Small Step for Man
One Giant Leap for Mankind.”
In the video here, after a short ride on the River Road, along the Indian River, and through Rockledge (my hometown), we meet a young family from Fort Lauderdale, spending the weekend in the turn-of-the-century (1900) Florida cottage.
My mother and I were invited in (local style) to watch television, waiting for the countdown to reach a couple of minutes, when we’d all go outside, take our positions, look across the Indian River (Intracoastal Waterway) toward the VAB (Vertical [vehicle] Assembly Building), where Discovery sat ready on pad 39B, awaiting ignition and launch.
Most striking to me, as often, is the (audio) reaction of those witnessing their first launch. “Look at the Ball of Fire” is only the beginning.