Flying July 16 to July 24, 2009.

Today you will see the Stars and Stripes flying with the flag of the state of Ohio, and these will fly in Vernon Street from July 16 to July 24 to celebrate the United States NASA Apollo 11 mission, “the first man on the moon”, in 1969. The home state of the commander, Neil Armstrong, was Ohio, so this gives me the perfect excuse to fly the attractive and unusual Ohio flag, in tandem.

Described as a pennant, the Ohio burgee is properly a swallowtail design. It was adopted in 1902. Unique in shape it is uncomplicated in design. The union of the flag is populated with seventeen white stars. Those that are grouped around the circle represent the thirteen original colonies. The four stars found at the apex of the triangle combine with the stars of the thirteen original colonies to total seventeen. Ohio was the seventeenth state to enter the union.

Vernon Street, Derby, July 16, 2009.

Apollo 11

The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the Moon.

It was the fifth human spaceflight of Project Apollo and the third human voyage to the Moon. It was also the second all-veteran crew in manned spaceflight history. Launched on July 16, 1969, it carried Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon, while Collins orbited above.

The mission fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's goal of reaching the moon by the end of the 1960s, which he expressed during a speech given before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."

It seems to me quite amazing that extraordinary event in 1969 was 40 years ago now, the year I left school after sitting my A levels just a few days before. I spent the summer in the USA touring on Greyhound buses, arriving in New Canaan, Connecticut, at the home of my cousins, with minutes to spare to watch the landing live on TV.

The Saturn V carrying Apollo 11 took several seconds to clear the tower on July 16, 1969

A condensation cloud forms around an interstage as the Saturn V approached Mach 1, one minute into the flight

The Eagle in lunar orbit immediately after separating from Columbia

Aldrin unpacks experiments from the LEM, named Eagle.

Aldrin salutes U.S. Flag

Buzz Aldrin poses on the Moon allowing Neil Armstrong to photograph both of them using the visor's reflection

Apollo 11 crewmen await pickup by helicopter following splashdown, July 24 1969.

Left to right: Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin

Italy................................................................. New Jersey

Collins and Aldrin were born in 1930 respectively in Rome, Italy, (to US Army officer father), and New Jersey. Here are two respective appropriate flags from my collection, Italy and New Jersey. The pre-1946 Italian flag is one of the prizes of my collection. It is old fine linen and huge, and was sold to me on Ebay by someone who thought it was an Italian football club flag !!

Did it really happen?

There is some controversy that the whole thing was faked by NASA on behalf of a desperate US Government and the CIA. To make up your mind, watch this clip:

Correct way to fold the Stars and stripes: