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Now the Apollo 8 was the first space flight to escape from the gravitational field of planet Earth; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to planet Earth from another celestial body - Earth's Moon.
The three-man crew of Mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders who became the first humans to see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes, as well as the first humans to see planet Earth from beyond low Earth orbit.
The mission was accomplished with the first manned launch of a Saturn V rocket. Apollo 8 was the second manned mission of the Apollo Program.
Finally I was going to see some real live Astronauts. My plan was to get close enough to take a picture of the Apollo 8 Astronauts when they came to New York City for a ticker tape parade.
I had my new 35mm Canon camera by my side, and dragged my sister Rona along as backup and she carried our 8mm movie camera.
The parade was going to end with Keys to the City being given to our American heroes by Mayor John Lyndsey.
My sister Rona Yvette Gallen, age 17 took a picture of me on the parade route when the cops let me hang out with them.
Meanwhile Back on Earth...
I dragged my sister out of our Brooklyn home early to grab a bus a few blocks away to the Kingshighway train station o catch the D train for our sixty minute local ride over the Brooklyn Bridge to the city.
The main goal of this mission was to get a good spot to view the Apollo 8 crew, and maybe if I'm lucky get a good picture for my school newspaper, which meant we had to be at ground level.
What Price Glory
My sisters plea's helped a little, and relented when he said only one person could come in, and of course there was no debate who should be allowed that honor.
Then the moment arrived when the lead press cars were turning the corner and the crowd cheers grew even louder with building echos when I spotted my three space travelers.
Arrest me if you want, but one way or another I was going to launch my self start towards their car one way or another.
The cop could see I was one step away from breaking away, arrest me, I don't care. But I was in luck that day when my friendly neighborhood police officer just looked at me and said go get your scoop, I'm from Brooklyn too.
So years before Forest Gump did his running I broke free from the side lines and headed straight towards their car while shooting away with my 35mm Canon celluloid still camera.
I got a lot more daring, when I ran right up to the car and went to shake the hand of Jim Lovell, just when another cop grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me away.
The Daily News had pictures of our heroes including listing the names of those in the car. It’s there I saw I had captured not just a great shot of the three astronauts waving to the crowd, humble speaking but it included the new Administrator of NASA Thomas Payne sitting up front in the car with the Mayor.
So of course I sent a copy of the picture to the new head of NASA and got a nice autograph picture, and letter on his NASA stationary saying thank you for the picture, and he was having it framed.
The after math of this adventure was that I tried the same excuse to get through crowed lines of our lost teacher by the award ceremony at City Hall with another cop, but he didn't fall or it.
Special Notes: I was lucky I had these few hard copy pictures of the Apollo 8 parade, because I haven't found my missing 35mm picture negatives my sister and I shot that day.
Apollo 8 Flight Data: I've added some flight information along side some of the pictures I posted on the slide show.
TVDAYS.com 220 West 71st Street NYC 10023 Vidres@aol.com
Dam the Torpedoes Full Speed Ahead
When we reached the parade route there wasn't a space available to watch at any level and every lamp post was filled with people hanging on.
So I came up with a plan even James Bond or Napoleon Solo with the help of Honey West would be proud of when I frantically ran up to a cop with my sister in tow, and wondering what pearls of wisdom I was going to use on him.
I pulled out my letter from Mayor John Lindsey, which had nothing to do with our missing Press passes that I told him was on the bus we came to the city with our teacher and class mates and forgot where the bus was parked.
"You can see I'm not lying", as I showed the officer the letter I got from the Mayor, saying he was going to arrange for my class to get press passes.
At the same time the excitement was growing as the sounds of the crowds cheering was echoing louder as the caravan of cars with our space heroes were getting closer.
Is there any chance ? I begged him to just let us hang out so I could scoop my class mates, where ever they are. I ranted on how I was the science editor of the James Madison High School newspaper and I have to get a picture of them, PLEASE.