Originally posted by pavil
Not to beat a dead horse, but aren't you re addressing points???????
I'm happy to see that at least one of the intended recipients has noticed my subtle message.
That does tend to be the necessary response when variations of a question are repeated again, and again, and again, and again AFTER a nullifying
response has been posted. Though we may not like it (do you think I enjoyed having to repeat tenable information that so many of you willfully
ignored?), a restating of "The Case Thus Far" happens to be necessary when thread members decide that reading the information
provided is just too much to ask.
You make it sound like a handful of Gemini splashdowns took place in the Pacific, only one did. The map looks like a lot of splashdowns, but
given the time frame mentioned, it narrows the field down. He has to be talking about the last three Apollo flights as the ones he witnessed in
Hawaii, waving at them as they came in. I would assume they went to Hawaii, but haven't been able to find that kinda detail.
Andrew’s comment was made to (accurately) refute the almost unanimous implications by early thread responders that Apollo 11 must be
the landing that Obama’s comment referred to, and that if
he referred to Apollo 11, he must have lied. Both of these conclusions are
incorrect. One or more childhood sightings of splashdowns or astronauts is very possible given the number of missions from Apollo, Gemini, and other
programs that reached Hawaii, and the supposed time frame of Obama’s absence (claimed by many in this thread) is not confirmable. Andrew argues that
many NASA missions were conducted during the 1960s, of which the Gemini program is a prevalent part. By referencing his post and tyranny22’s, I mean
to highlight the collective number of missions rather than any particular program’s share of the pie. The very basic point being that a person in
Hawaii could have easily witnessed one or more missions, and those missions could be from Apollo, Gemini, Mercury or other programs of the era.
The field of “possible missions” is only narrowed down to landings that occurred within sighting distance from Obama’s position (assumed to be
Honolulu). Time limits cannot be set, and the details provided by his anecdote are not particular enough to isolate a mission conclusively. I do,
however, think that we can make a good guess, at least with regard to the claimed astronaut sighting; I’ll explain my suspicions later on. First,
I’d like to discuss the limits I perceive in our ability to speculate about this matter—that lies at the heart of this debate.
There is no compelling reason to believe that we know the complete dates of travel for President Obama during the time period in question. Departure
and return, with four years in between, leaves a hell of a gap in information. I’m perplexed by just how
so many of you reached a conclusion
regarding those dates. Did anyone consider that the child might have visited his grandparents on holiday during
the years he spent in
Indonesia? That perhaps, through either that scenario or any number of others, Obama’s travel itinerary during those years does not align with the
precise dates you’ve accepted?
The Hawaii-Indonesia question was not nearly as cut-and-dry for me as it was for many of you. I suspected that he, like many children whose
grandparents live overseas, would have visited his grandparents during that period away, considering the formative years he spent under their care
just prior to living in Indonesia. I located an e-version of Dreams of My Father
(Obama’s memoir from 1995), thinking it might hold some
relevant self-reported information about his childhood. Two passages stood out; the first notes that he indeed visited his grandparents during those
four years spent in Indonesia:
(following the news that he would be sent back to the care of his grandparents in Hawaii; “she” refers to his mother)
She reminded me of
what a great time I'd had living with Gramps and Toot just the previous summer--the ice cream, the cartoons, the days at the beach. "And you won't
have to wake up at four in the morning," she said, a point that I found most compelling.
I don’t know, nor do I particularly care if there were any additional
visits made to his grandparents. I care only to establish the untenable
nature of claims like, “Obama left Hawaii on XXXX and didn’t return until XXXX, so he’s obviously telling another lie.” The bottom line: there
is reason to doubt the dates upon which so many of you have based your outrage and mockery. If someone would like to locate his childhood travel
history to prove that my suspicion is unwarranted, I’ll gladly reconsider my position.
Because a conclusive time frame cannot be put into place, here is a general list of missions dealt with (in some capacity) by Hickam Air Force Base in
6 October 1962 Project Mercury
recovery and debriefing of astronauts
16 March 1966 Gemini 8 astronauts and NASA officials arrive from Okinawa
9 November 1967 Apollo 4 capsule recovery
27 December 1968 Apollo 8 astronauts arrive at Hickam after splashdown
26 July 1969 mobile quarantine of the Apollo 11 crew travels from Pearl Harbor to Hickam AFB, before going on to Houston
public reception of Apollo 11 crew in
28 November 1969 Apollo 12 astronauts pass through the AFB enroute to Houston
This is not the first time Obama has made the statement in question. He likes to relay it any time NASA/space discussions present themselves; he has
been doing so for years
. It is a very sentimental story that undoubtedly means a great deal to him, though I’m sure his colleagues, who must
have it memorized by now, wouldn’t mind if he retired it for a while.
Recalling astronauts, splashdowns, or recovery of capsules from the ocean are each possible with more than one mission assisted by Hickam Airforce
Apollo 11 astronauts were taken through Hawaii in a mobile quarantine, which had a window for observers to peer into, so they would seem to be a
likely match for at least these astronauts, from his 1995 memoir:
One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandfather's shoulders as the astronauts from one of the Apollo missions arrived at Hickam
Air Force Base after a successful splashdown. I remember the astronauts, in aviator glasses, as being far away, barely visible through the portal
of an isolation chamber. But Gramps would always swear that one of the astronauts waved just at me and that I waved back. It was part of the story
he told himself.
Another recounting of the story, from 2008:
(describing an ad filmed in 2008
to support space exploration)
Obama-Biden campaign ran TV ads that evoked the glory days of NASA's Apollo program, with then-candidate Obama saying that one of his earliest
memories was going with his grandfather to see some astronauts being brought back after a splashdown.
And again, to coincide with the anniversary of Apollo 11, the 2009 quote by the OP:
The country continues to draw inspiration from what you've done. I should note, just personally, I grew up in Hawaii, as many of you know, and
I still recall sitting on my grandfather's shoulders when those capsules would land in the middle of the Pacific and they'd get brought back and
we'd go out and we'd pretend like they could see us as we were waving at folks coming home. And I remember waving American flags and my grandfather
telling me that the Apollo mission was an example of how Americans can do anything they put their minds to.
Further instances of Obama’s NASA anecdote can be found online. If the topic is space exploration, you can count on hearing it again.