Ceremony on the Plains of Hadley

Dave Scott salutes the U.S. flag while Jim Irwin watches.

Painting Completed 1983
20 x 30 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

"The Falcon is on the plain at Hadley," reported the excited Apollo 15 Commander David R. Scott on July 30, 1971. Dave and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin were on the surface of the Moon at a site rich with scientific potential. They would be able to make observations and gather samples for some three and half days and would have for their use the first car on the Moon, an electric dune buggy.

But, first, the matter of ceremony. Planting the flag - or, perhaps a stick of a spear before flags were created - has been a tradition in exploration since ancient times, and Moon exploration was no exception. They couldn't, however, count on the wind blowing out the flag, since there is no air on the Moon. So they used a small metal, snap-up curtain rod along the top edge of the flag.

Why had we gone to the Moon at all? Was it worth the cost? There may be no single answer to these questions, which we all must decide for ourselves. The spirit of exploration is either in your heart or it is not. Dave Scott spoke eloquently when he said, "As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown at Hadley, I sort of realize there's a fundamental truth to our nature. Man must explore. And this is exploration at its greatest."