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Buzz Aldrin’s Other Big Day

Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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6 Comments
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One elegant, one dashing, both filled with hope and appreciation, they are a beacon. Here they were – bride and groom. She was dressed in lace, white roses, orchids, baby’s breath in an arm. He sported a bow tie, dark suit, silver beard, hair white. On one lapel a boutonniere, on the other Airforce wings, a moon boot, and medal. Two kids awaiting the perk of a kettle, Anca and Buzz.

Having worked with Buzz a quarter century and known Anca years, I was still surprised – when the phone rang. In an impish voice, Buzz said they were going to “tie the knot.” The ceremony featured Buzz at 93, the two of them chortling like teenagers, giddy as a moon landing.

Buzz has survived more than most even know – West Point to combat missions over Korea, shootdowns and near crashes, rejection from NASA, doctorate from MIT, later acceptance and prime crew for Gemini 12, then spacewalks, manually docking in orbit, Apollo 11, first crew on the moon, later diving on the Titanic, exploring north and south poles … What had he not done?

Marry his love. And so – under a simple tree, in a simple side yard, a few around them, they exchanged vows, spoke from the heart their “I dos,” and – as if beginning again – were on an adventure. But before that Buzz had one final commitment that evening – again looking forward.

He gave a speech to a thousand people, got honored by “Living Legends of Aviation.” In his speech, he bared his heart, offering spontaneous insights about a life that took him out to the moon and back.  Listening were his son, daughter, their families, including his great grands.

To the group and world at large, this pioneer spoke about what it means to have hope, take risks, endure losses, and about America’s spirit of reaching outward. He honored those who built the planes and rockets the Apollo astronauts flew, and those America lost achieving what many thought we could not do. He spoke of gratitude – and of America’s capacity for the impossible.

“When you get to be my age, every day is precious, and so are your friends and family.  Evenings like this are a chance to stop and look back, say thank you, and offer a bit of looking ahead…,” he said.

He talked about “the importance of putting new footprints on the moon, then some human footprints, American footprints, on Mars,” and hoped gatherings like this might one day be held “on Olympus Mons, the largest mountain on Mars, or perhaps on Phoebus, that planet’s agreeable moon, or maybe just – in the near term – in a place called Tranquility Base.”

He reminded us how lucky we are. “Borrowing from Lou Gehrig, I am – and I think we Americans all are – among the luckiest people ever to draw breath. In 1962, President Kennedy looked up and put America a course for the moon,” and “those of us lucky enough to be part of that know it shaped our lives – defined us, and we are grateful for that.” What he did not say, is that it shaped all America – and it still does. We did the impossible. He embodied it, still does.

He looked forward. “We knew that those who had gone before us, the pioneers and pilots, engineers and explorers had taken risks – and so we did. We need to do that again. It is a mindset, the mindset of daring.”

He explained. “You know, nothing that is worth doing … is easy. John Kennedy got it right, ‘We do these things because they are hard.’ And because we did them, the Cold War began to subside and humanity imagined living in peace, even if just for one moment. And we came back and had the privilege of saying, yes, it can be done.”

He told a story, how he and Neil almost did not get off the moon, used a felt tipped pen – “cap end” – to push in a circuit breaker that lit the ascent engine, “snapped off” by one of their backpacks getting back into the lunar module on the moon.

All this he said with dignity and a certain confidence – not just in the past, which is easy, but in the future, which can be hard. He urged those listening to “keep the dream alive,” “keep us looking up … on course for the future.” He is still on that course.

All this seems surreal. Yet here we all are, at the intersection of what has been and what will be, and so is he. Buzz and Anca got married as he turned 93, both looking forward – Buzz with unblinking confidence in America’s future. Just that fact is heartening.  

If we can see what he sees, think that way, both forward and grateful, who is to say – the future will not exceed the past? Congratulations and Godspeed Buzz and Anca. Your hope is a beacon.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Dennis Belotti
Dennis Belotti
1 year ago

Mr. Charles, Great commentary on “Buzz”. He is truly a role model for us now and future generations. He is what has made America the “Beacon of the World” !

All the best Buzz.

Patriot Will
Patriot Will
1 year ago

Mr. Charles, once again, your article is very well written and full of hope and inspiration. More Americans need to openly display their gratitude for the opportunities and freedoms in this great nation, while, also, having faith that these politically and economically challenging times will eventually help make our country stronger and better in the near future. We are going through some hard times; however, we are still an exceptional nation filled with exceptional people. The stupid, negative people who are currently trying to destroy our noble Constitutional Republic will not prevail.

Howard
Howard
1 year ago

As usual, an excellent and uplifting commentary from Robert Charles. Thank you, Bob, I needed that.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.

joe
joe
1 year ago

HE LIED.moon is a lie.God will be his judge.

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