‘One small step…’ Morris Museum to celebrate moonwalk, July 20

Neil Armstrong on the moon, July 20, 1969. Photo by Buzz Aldrin.

“If we can put a man on the moon, then –”

We’ve heard that line so many times over the last half-century that it’s become a cliché. A cliché that trivializes humankind’s greatest technical achievement.

Saturday, July 20, 2019, marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin setting foot on the moon.

The Morris Museum in Morris Township will commemorate this colossal event with Moonwalk@50!, a day of activities including kids crafts, a reflective “moonwalk” through the Frelinghuysen Arboretum garden, a talk by astronomer Al Witzgall, and a 3:30 pm screening of the 2019 documentary Apollo 11.

Using NASA footage, a subtle music score and deft editing, this film achieves the seemingly impossible feat of creating nail-biting suspense, without benefit of narration, and despite the fact that viewers already know the ending.

It’s a testament to the incredible courage of Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins. Strapped atop a Saturn V Roman candle, just two and a half years after three friends were incinerated on the Apollo 1 launchpad, they faced a task so daunting, they pre-signed autographs for their wives to sell–in case they didn’t make it back. Only a lunatic would offer life insurance to a lunar explorer.

That was the real challenge of Apollo 11: Not just landing men on the moon but also, as President Kennedy declared, to bring them safely back to earth.

Though Apollo 11′s moonwalk scenes are spectacular, its most gripping moments are the mission countdown, and splashdown. This documentary is a must-see.

Video: Trailer for ‘Apollo 11’:

Moonwalk@50! runs from 11 am to 5 pm at the Morris Museum. “Moon Pass” admission: $20; $15 for members. At 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morris Township, (973) 971-3700.

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