Beyond a Young Boy's Dream

Al Bean holds the lower corner of the flag

Painting Completed 1989
22 x 33 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

When I was a boy, I dreamed of flying airplanes. I built model airplanes of balsa wood and paper and glue. Some were powered with thin rubber bands and others with small, noisy gasoline engines. By the time I was in high school, model airplanes of all shapes and sizes were hanging by thin wires from the ceiling of my room. Airplanes were the last things I would see before falling asleep at night. I dreamed of flying higher than the highest cloud and faster than the fastest wind.

As I grew older, the dream grew stronger: when I completed flight training and mother pinned my Navy Wings of gold...when I was a jet pilot flying off tiny gray aircraft carriers on vast blue oceans....when as a test pilot flying all the Navy's latest aircraft to their limits...and when, as an astronaut, I was training to rocket to the distant white moon in a silver spaceship.

Well, here I am standing on the Moon. To reach this distant world, I flew higher than any cloud and many times faster than the wind. I am living much more than my boyhood dream. And now, as I look out over the "magnificent desolation" of the lunar surface, little boys and girls on Earth are building model rockets, dreaming of flying higher than the Moon and faster than a shooting star.