Sometimes a fact that’s been right in front of me all my life nonetheless fails to penetrate my consciousness. This particular fact may be one of which all my readers are already aware. In fact, you may think it’s quite unremarkable. But it just now came to my attention, and I am flabbergasted, so I just have to tell you:
American dollar coins from the 1970s, whether they bear the head of Dwight D. Eisenhower or Susan B. Anthony, on the reverse side depict an eagle landing on the moon.
I think I had noticed the eagle before. If you’d asked me what was on the other side of Susan B., I might even have been able to tell you it was an eagle, an elegantly outstretched and feathery eagle, landing on something.
But I never before noticed that it is landing on the MOON!!! The landscape has those distinctive craters. That disc up in the sky bears the outlines of the Americas, so that’s Earth up there. The eagle is bringing an olive branch to the moon. How peaceful.
Yet totally disturbing and confusing! An eagle? On the moon? Without even a helmet? What?! And isn’t it a dove bringing an olive branch that is a sign of peace?
Okay, okay, I get it: America, represented here by our mascot bird, landed on the moon (“The eagle has landed,” and all), and that’s a proud achievement to put on our coin, but we didn’t take over the moon for ourselves but just to show what humankind can do but not in an aggressive way, so, like, “We come in peace!” Okay, I see.
But still. An eagle landing on the moon. Did those government LSD experiments involve the coin designers, too?