New Glory for Old Glory

Gene Cernan with the South Massif in the background

Painting Completed 1984
20 x 30 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

Gene Cernan was the last American on the Moon. I have painted him performing a ceremony that he had dreamed of from his selection as an astronaut in 1963 until he first set his boots in the lunar dust in December 1972.

The flag and pole were carried from Earth in a stowage area called the MESA to the left of the ladder on the side of the lunar module. Once on the surface, Gene removed the lower section of the pole and gave it to Jack Schmitt to pound into the lunar surface with the hammer. At the same time, Gene extended the deployment rod straight out from the top of the upper section of the pole. He extended the flag, which was stored accordion-style, out the deployment rod. The creases in the flag are still visible in my painting.

Two of the portable life support system backpack hoses are visible. The other one is connected to the remote control until mounted on Gene's chest. Using this unit Gene can select certain functions such as radio channel and volume, as well as monitor the caution and warning system. The other hose provides oxygen to the suit to keep it pressurized. The suit and the backpack act as a single unit to insure the safety of the astronaut as he moves about the lunar surface. From Gene's point of view, they act as a portable one-man space ship.