By Linda Emley
One of my favorite things to do is pick an important date in history and then see what our local newspaper had to say about it. Sometimes it doesn’t even make the headlines because many historical events take a little time to become famous.
A wise man once told me that it takes 50 years before we can tell if something was really an important historical event or just a small piece of the bigger picture.
As I looked at the full moon last night, I wondered what the Richmond News headline said in July of 1969 as Neil Armstrong took his first step on the Moon.
On July 24, 1969, the headline said, “So Now We’ve Reached the Moon …” Half the front page had a story and a picture of our astronauts walking on the moon.
By Lee Meador
“So we reached for the moon and made it. So what?
“So we have opened up a new field, as limitless as space itself, and so year by year, decade by decade, life itself becomes a new adventure.
“The feat of man on the moon has caught the attention of our nation like few events in history. There was a day back in the 1920s when people couldn’t wait for the next edition of the metropolitan paper to find out the fate of Floyd Collins – as heralded in folk song later, ‘the boy we all knew well.’
“By the 1930s attention was suddenly centered on Baby Lindy when the son of a national hero was kidnapped from his home in New Jersey. We had radios, and the nation was one in praying for the safe return of this child.
“There was that suspenseful period of May 20-21, 1927, when Charles A. Lindbergh, took off on a solo flight for Paris from New York. Both America and Europe thrilled at this achievement.”
Lee Meador’s article tells about other things that he felt were important historical events. I love the way he ends his story. “Man of the year 2069 will look back on our times just as we can look back and note the progress of each generation. In fact, the man of the year 1989 can look back to 1969 and say, ‘that was back when…’
If you would like to hear the rest of Lee’s story, come up to the Ray County Museum and we will be glad to pull out the 1969 Richmond News for you.
I thought this story was interesting because it showed a side of Lee that I never knew. I was curious to know if Lee lived long enough to see the year 1989 that he talked about in his article. I found Francis Lee Meador buried in the Hardin Cemetery. He was born Oct. 14, 1918, and died June 6, 1998. Lee never married and is buried near his parents.
So who was Floyd Collins that was mentioned in Lee’s article? On Feb. 13, 1925, William Floyd Collins died in a cave in Kentucky. He was a world famous cave explorer who was trapped in a narrow cave for 14 days before he died. All nationwide newspapers covered his story. It was also among the first major news story covered by amateur radio.
For the complete story, see the Aug. 11 print edition of the Richmond News.