On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched at 9:32 a.m. Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two people on the moon on July 20, the single greatest technological achievement of all time by the human race. The night I saw the space miracle unfold on my black and white television, how could I have known that my life would cross paths and connect with one of those three space heroes?

Years later, in 1998, my wife, Celeste and I were invited on the maiden voyage of the Grand Princess, christened by Olivia de Havilland. The celebration included a long list of celebrities and dignitaries, many of whom I interviewed for the Talk America Radio Network.

During one lunch, Celeste and I had just passed through the casual buffet and were looking for a place to sit and eat. Every table was taken. I was certain we were going to have to go to another room, but a very friendly man looked over at us and motioned for us to sit with him and his wife. It was Buzz Aldrin. It felt like my heart was suffering from AFib.

During that lunch, a friendship connection was made with the Aldrins. Buzz became a regular on my nationally syndicated show and was always an audience draw. But during the conversation (and don't ask me how this came up), I shared with them that I was a recovering alcoholic. Surprised, Buzz reached into his pocket and handed me his AA medallion, and said there was a reason why our Higher Power wanted us to meet on that cruise.

Incredible to think the hero who was the second person to walk on the moon, the inspiration behind the character "Buzz Lightyear," told me he quit drinking a couple days before liftoff but resumed drinking upon return. He joked that today you can order a "Buzz Aldrin" in most bars, but ignores that and simply works his 12-step program and hopes to be of service to other recovering alcoholics.

It started as one small step that eventually became a giant leap for Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos.

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