Buzz Aldrin, the second human being to walk on the Moon, was taken ill while on a tourist trip to the South Pole this week. He was evacuated from the Pole to McMurdo Station on the coast, and I think is now in New Zealand.
Aldrin is 86 years old, the oldest of the seven remaining Moonwalkers. As well as being the second person to walk on the Moon, he was the first person to eat anything on the Moon — it was a Communion wafer — and the first person to urinate on the Moon, although not of course actually on the Moon.
The youngest of those surviving seven Moonwalkers, Harrison Schmitt, turned 81 in October. Soon they will all be gone: the last participants in the human race's most astonishing, most audacious, most wonderfully inspirational adventure to date.
Gone with them will be the memory of a U.S.A. that could accomplish such marvels, in those last years of heroic national vigor, before we turned our energies to guilt and rancor and divisive social crusades, and to persuading ourselves and each other that in the human sphere, everything is equal to everything else.
Best wishes to Buzz for a speedy recovery from whatever ails him. Best wishes to our country for a revival of the spirit that sent him and his comrades on such a tremendous enterprise.