Apollo 1

(A meditation, taken from the sci-fi blog, with just little editing to remove the RPG elements)

The transcript of the recording from Apollo 1, the crew of which died when a fire started in the cockpit during a test in 1967.

Ed White: Fire!
Gus Grissom: I’ve got a fire in the cockpit!
Roger Chaffee: I’m burning up!
[screams]
[silence]

Apocalyptic Log: Real Life
TV Tropes

Remember that Apollo 1 never got off the launch pad.

But Apollo 11 got to the Moon, and back.

And Apollo 13 is still the most successful failed mission in human history, in my opinion.

The accomplishments are truly astonishing.

But there was a price paid.

Is there a chance that a there will be even a small memorial to the Apollo 1 crew?

I doubt it, not after 3,500 years. There’s a good chance they will remember Apollo 11, even after multiple millennia, but probably not the first Apollo mission.1

But perhaps, we will still remember that we stand on the shoulders of some very brave men, most of whom will always be nameless.

But they existed. And they mattered.

Why Remember?

“It doesn’t take much to make a ghost smile,” an ancestor-worshipper would say.

I disagree: the importance of memory is to truly judge people (and institutions, and societies) justly – living and dead – rather to to appease the shades.

Memory does not grant immortality. But also, we do not die finally when the our name is said for the last time by living men.

Our value is determined by the presence – or absence – of our name in the Book of Life. Not by the memory of men.2

Righteousness and justice, respect and shame, is what we must meet out to all, to the extent that is lawful and proper. We must learn our lessons, and remember with gratitude, or contempt, or at least careful reflection & contemplation, as the man’s actions and words dictates.

“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!”

I Corinthians 6:2-3, ESV

There must be Law, and there must be Judges. So we might as well be good judges, following a sound legal system founded by God, applicable to all, securing liberty, justice, and safety for all.

Yes, even for the unbeliever! For there is only One Law.

To Judge the World… and The Judgement Beyond

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:1-5, ESV

We must judge ourselves first, and repent of our own evil, before justice can spread from our hearts to the hearts of others.

The sooner we do this, the better.

For we will all be judged — whether we wish it or not — because all men are always judging others.

The question, then, is not if we will be judged, but if we will find mercy.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 5:7, ESV

and

Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9:13, ESV

1But if the men of the Far Future still remember “Apollo 11”, then they would also postulate the existence of a “Apollo 1”, even if they have no information on what happened.

True: they will probably also guess that there was an Apollo 2 and Apollo 3, which never did exist. But that to my mind is a forgivable oversight, so long as they know that there was an Apollo 1.

Even if everything else about the mission was ground to dust, or electro-magnetic static, over the centuries.

2Better to be a faithful but utterly forgotten believing Christian, one of millions starved or shot by The Wave of the Future in the Soviet Union, than to be Stalin – a name that will be spoken of for centuries to come.

“For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”

Luke 16:15b, ESV

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