A handshake to remember

You’ve most likely heard by now that Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, had to be evacuated from the South Pole Wednesday because of what was termed deteriorating health. Aldrin was on a sightseeing trip.
Reports Thursday were that he was doing well.
Aldrin is 86 years old which means he was 79 or 80 when I met him six years ago following the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.
As had been the case for the last nine years, we were guests of John P. Cosgrove, Pittston native who worked in and around the media for more than 70 years in the nation’s capital. John died in early November at 98 years old.
A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, John was a founding member of the board of trustees of the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue and always invited us to a post-parade party at the memorial. That’s where we met Buzz Aldrin.
As he shook my hand I could not help but think, “I am shaking the hand of a man who walked on the moon.”
He looked at the time as though he could drink you under the table and kick your butt any time he wanted, and probably with one hand tied behind his back. But he was also quite gracious.
Aldrin stepped on the moon about 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong in 1969. It’s said some 600 million people viewed it on TV. I was one, watching from my living room with my mom and dad.
Reports have it that Aldrin is pushing for a manned mission to Mars. He’s probably thinking he can talk his way onto it. In the meantime, I supposed he had to settle for exploring Antarctica.

Ed Ackerman