Flashback: ‘We’ll see you on the other side’ (1968)

As expected this morning, Parler is down, its servers unplugged by provider Amazon Web Services. The social-media platform optimistically projects that it’ll return within a week. We’ll see.

When NASA launched Apollo 8 on December 21, 1968, with the mission of reaching the moon, orbiting it for a day or so and returning to Earth, there was quiet acknowledgement of the risks — in fact, engineers gave the crew only a 50-50 chance of surviving. It was the first time that humans would venture beyond Earth’s gravitational field, the first human spaceflight to another body in our universe.

If something went wrong, anything, there was no back-up plan.

Everyone remembers historic Apollo 11, the first lunar landing, and problem-plagued Apollo 13, but I remember Apollo 8 just as vividly. I’ll never forget hearing the words of pilot Jim Lovell just before entering the first lunar orbit and losing contact with Mission Control.

“We’ll see you on the other side.”

I was an 11-year-old American kid who loved everything about the space program, one of millions who spent an anxious 35 minutes and 52 seconds waiting for the crew’s voices to crackle over the radio again. And they did, of course.

The relief we all felt was indescribable, as was the pride. Apollo 8 was cause for celebration after an excruciating year marked by a divisive presidential campaign, violent unrest and political assassinations.

I’ll continue creating content here on Ubi Libertas, and I’ll keep posting links to social-media sites that don’t censor my speech. And I expect to be sharing again to Parler by this time next week — I’ll see you on the other side.