I think nothing symbolises the degree to which we, humanity, did something great and then, unbelievably, chose to not repeat it, than the fact that these men are now old. It was a long time ago that we went to the Moon, and I think it will be a long time before we return. I think that perhaps the reason why so many people now believe that we never went is because it hardly seems plausible that we would go, and then never return. What happened to the Space Age? What happened to our cities on the Moon? What happened to the future?
And being reminded of all that made me recall a family conversation we had a couple of weeks ago.
We were talking about our earliest memories, and my elder brother Jim told us that his earliest memory was of being led out into our garden by our mum, and having her point at the Moon and tell him that there were men up there. That was during the Apollo 11 mission, when he would have been just over three.
Upon hearing that, I did a quick mental calculation. When Apollo 17 made the final landing on the Moon, I would have been a few months over three myself (It was three years later, and I'm three years younger than my brother). Why had she not taken me out to see the men on the Moon, then? I asked, slightly upset.
When Apollo 11 landed, I knew it was Jim's first chance to see a Moon with men on it, she told me. But when Apollo 17 landed, I never dreamed for an instant that it might, perhaps, be your last.