In July 1969, the first human (Neil Armstrong) set foot on the surface of the Moon. Whilst the entire world was glued to TV sets watching this historical moment, totally in awe of the achievement, they also watched in horror as the quagmire of the Vietnam War continued out of control. One ideology had won the space race, but was rapidly losing its battle to halt the spread and influence of its ideological rival.
“The Eagle has landed! ”
“That’s one small step for Man; one giant leap for Mankind!”
- Neil Armstrong, 1969.
♪♪ And then someone yelled out: ... ‘CONTACT’, and the bloke behind me swore ...
We were hooked in there for hours ... then came a God Almighty roar ...
Frankie kicked a mine ... the day that Mankind ... kicked the Moon ...
God help me! ... We were goin’ home real soon! ♪♪
- (Modified) from the song I Was Only 19, by Redgum, 1983.
♪♪ They sit ....at home ... and watch the show ... comin’ on ... the little screen;
A man named Ike ... was in the White House ... big black limousine!
But all too soon ... we hit the Moon ... and covered up the sky!
They built their bombs ... and aimed their guns ... and still I don’t know why?
The dominoes tumbled ... and Big Business roared!
Every night at six ... they showed the pict-ures ... and counted up the scores.
I know it’s true ... Oh so true! ...
’Cause I saw it ... on T.V. ♪♪
- (modified) from the song I Saw It On T.V. by John Fogerty, 1988
Man on the Moom
With heavy rain pelting down,
Red gluey mud all around,
Eyes straining the dark way out there;
As it drifted, losing height,
Magnesium burned bright,
Strange shadows from a parachute flare.
And like that of a child,
Imagination runs wild,
For each soldier on guard in the gloom;
And unknown to these men,
What was happening above then,
The whole world was watching the Moon.
Whilst those explorers in space,
Won an illogical arms race,
Others lost it, in jungle warfare;
A platoon was pinned down,
Buried minefield all around,
Chaos, with wounded and dead everywhere.
And hey diddle diddle,
I recall just a little,
When I hear that nursery rhyme tune,
That nobody laughed,
When caught up in The Draft,
A time when Man jumped over the Moon.
And the ‘Eagle had landed’,
Bearing the standard,
Of a nation enmeshed in its pride;
And yet what was that worth,
Back down here on Earth,
When in wars millions suffered or died?
And the world appeared blue,
To Apollo’s three crew,
In spite of a white swirling monsoon;
‘One giant leap for Mankind’,
Back in July ’69,
As Armstrong stepped out on the Moon.
On television below,
That high rating show,
’Twas a diversion from a far different scene;
At that instant in time,
Young Frankie stepped on a mine,
Mere space where his left leg had been.
And the ‘Louie’ was dead,
From a chunk of hot lead,
An N.C.O. now led this platoon;
Yet, adversity breeds,
Heroes like Corporal Needs,
As a flag was planted into the Moon.
So ‘Doc’ Anderson flew,
‘Choppered’ in by a Sioux,
With Sapper Andrews, both lowered on a line;
Men stumbling or lying,
Others dead or soon dying,
Rusty dust stained, like red bloody wine.
As a Long Tan survivor, a ‘grunt’,
Johnny Needs led ‘Doc’, out in front,
Without both, others would die very soon;
And though carefully combing,
With bayonet slowly, just probing,
Blown up as the world stared at the Moon.
With Andrews assisting,
The now wounded ‘Doc’ was persisting,
“Get the more serious medevaced out first!”
Legs broken, blind, bleeding,
Urgent aid he was needing,
Andrews advised him that he was the worst.
So this emergency case,
Was ‘dusted-off’ back to base,
As they treated each terrible wound;
With paramedics on board,
That mini hospital ward,
And Apollo returned home from the Moon.
Desiring no possession,
For self-pity’s depression,
Compensating for the loss of his sight;
With the help of his wife,
‘Doc’ got on with his life,
Although darkness replaces all light.
And meanwhile, Andrews surveys,
Heaven’s starry pathways,
Sometimes humming that familiar tune:
‘I Was Only 19’,
Contemplates many lessons there’ve been,
Since that day Man walked onto the Moon.
And alone there at night,
When the mood strikes him right,
Searching for answers, perhaps in the sky;
Sadly recalling that time,
What a waste, what a crime,
He simply just asks: “Bloody why?”
Isn’t it strange then how we,
All glued to TV,
Were oblivious to lives that we ruin?
Pass unpopular laws,
Still cannot stop wars,
And yet we can put a man on the Moon!
Man on the Moon