Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For All Mankind

On the 35th anniversary of Apollo 15's blastoff on a moon mission, this post is to honor Lunar Module Pilot James Benson Irwin (March 17, 1930 – August 8, 1991).

"Irwin said that it was his experience exploring the moon on the Apollo 15 mission in July 1971 that moved him to devote the rest of his life to "spreading the good news of Jesus Christ."

For All Mankind, Apollo Pictures, 1989
(Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.)
I felt like I was an alien as I traveled through space. But when I got on the moon I didn’t feel that, at all. I felt at home there even though the earth was a long ways away. We could see it directly above about the size of a marble and realized it was there but by the grace of God.

I felt like I was at the end of a thin cord that could be cut at any time. It was precarious but yet I felt comfortable. I felt something other than what we can visually sense. A spiritual presence was there. Perhaps it was because so many people on the earth were focusing their attention on us, they were maybe sending signals to us somehow.

I sensed, I guess in a way much like maybe the first man on the earth would have sensed. Like Adam, perhaps Eve, when they were standing on the earth and realized they were all alone, there was no one else on the earth, but yet they had that special communication. And I guess it was similar to the feeling I had on the moon when I realized that day that David Scott and I were the only two on this vast planet, another world, we were the only two there. We felt an unseen love. We are not alone.

James Benson Irwin, Apollo 15

James Irwin saluting the American Flag on the moon.
James Irwin on the moon.

“Beyond his achievements as an astronaut with NASA, Irwin is perhaps most notable for his attempts to use his experiences on the Moon to spread his belief in Christianity. He left NASA and retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel in 1972 and founded High Flight, a Christian ministry. He frequently commented about how his experiences in space had made the presence of God even more real to him than before.”
(Apollo 15:
He was buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery.