Volume 5 Issue 1 Spring-Summer 2018
By Madison Monroe
he thing about heroes is you rarely read about just how human they are. Their deeds are exalted, and their flaws unmentioned. In truth, they are like you and me: good and bad, sane and crazy, happy and depressed, complicated. This is certainly true of Edwin Aldrin, Jr., the second man on the moon. One of the most iconic photographs of Old Glory would not exist without him.
He graduated third in his class at West Point. He flew airplanes during the Korean War and was chosen by NASA to enter the space program in 1963. One might believe he was destined for it…his mother’s maiden name was Moon.
He married three times and had three children and three grandchildren. Both his parents committed suicide, and he battled with depression and alcoholism his entire adult life.
In the movie, “Toy Story,” the Buzz Lightyear character was named after him and although Buzz Aldrin never said, “To infinity and beyond,” he firmly believes we should be colonizing Mars.
He was the second man to walk on the moon, but while there, he was the first doing two noteworthy things. Most men like to pee outdoors, but Buzz took the whole "marking your territory" thing to new heights (pun intended). Buzz Aldrin was the first man to pee on the moon. And, maybe because of that, he was also the first man to take communion on the moon.
In later writings, one can feel the melancholy in his words as he describes the moon as a "satellite of solitude" and refers to the terrain as "magnificent desolation."
He is not the typical American hero because we know his flaws. But when he proudly placed the American Flag on the moon and stood back to salute it, he became forever ingrained in our story.
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