Friday, October 2, 2009

Buzz and Buzz

Buzz Aldrin visited Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom today to be part of a ticker tape parade for the returning Buzz Lightyear. Buzz (Lightyear, not Aldrin) spent over 400 days aboard the International Space Station before returning with Discovery's crew last month. Michael Fincke, a crew mate of Buzz (Lightyear, not Aldrin) also joined in on the celebration. Aldrin and Fincke rode in classic Camaro convertibles while Lightyear was carried by his trusty friend RC Car. The paraders were followed by the WDW Marching Band.

The procession began in Frontierland, made it's way to the Castle Hub, and then down MainStreet, USA. A stop on Main Street allowed for brief interviews, cheers by the crowds, and pictures and videos. Along the way, crowds waved, with many wearing NASA shirts and hats and many children (possibly in anticipation of the evening's Halloween party) were wearing flight suits.

After the parade, Fincke held a Q & A in the auditorium behind the Expo Center, while concurrently Aldrin had a book signing in the same building. I had time only for the book signing, so I waited in the hour long line and finally had my turn. Aldrin looked very good, though much older than when I first met him 20 years ago. I related to him a time we worked an Epcot event together, where he wore a Buzz Lightyear button in which the words 'Buzz off!' were imprinted. I asked him then what he thought of his namesake, and he told me, "I'm as proud as if he were my own son!" I've shared that story with many students and teachers, and Buzz appeared to enjoy it. A good day.

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