Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of people flocked to the Vero Beach Book Store to see a genuine legend, up close and personal. Many waited outside in the heat for a chance to get a glimpse. It wasn’t a rock star, fashion icon or renowned athlete.
It was the astronaut, Col. Buzz Aldrin, best known for his historic July 1969 Apollo 11 moonwalk. Aldrin is on tour promoting his new book “No Dream is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon.”
At 86, he knows how to work a crowd and keep them captivated. The local bookstore was filled to the rafters with space loyalists of all ages who hung on every word. Everyone had to purchase a book ($22) to attend the event. Many even bought multiple copies for friends and family.
Aldrin shared anecdotes and personal insights from his exceptional life. At one point he made sure to show off his “stars and stripes” socks. Call it destiny, his mother’s maiden name was “Moon.” He got the nickname “Buzz” because his young sister couldn’t say “brother” only buzzer. Aldrin revealed that he had his name legally changed to Buzz after his father passed away.
One of the youngest fans in the audience was 5-year-old, Edward Gorecki, who came attired in his own astronaut space suit. His mother, Mai Gorecki, is amazed at how much her child knows about the space program and the astronauts. So determined on a space career, Edward carries his own head shots that he autographs for people he meets.
Sure enough, when it was his turn to meet Aldrin, he quickly bestowed him with his photo before posing at the book signing table.
Aldrin says the future of space exploration, especially to Mars, are the children of today. He has formed a non-profit group aptly named, “Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation.” Its mission is to inspires children to realize their passion for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) by delivering hands-on activities.
Aldrin says you can learn more about the foundation at the website, noting that 100% of every dollar you spend on the t-shirts, caps and other memorabilia goes directly to the foundation.