Meet them? I don’t think I was old enough to have met them at the time the story took place, and the story wasn’t broadly enough promoted that I would have sought them out later in life.
But I lived immersed in the stories of NASA and never came across theirs until the movie came out. It was shocking to me that such a compelling story had escaped my obsession with the birth and growth of the space program.
It’s improbable that I never heard or had access to their story prior to that, I just didn’t focus on it until their remarkable story was brought into sharper relief by the movie. Frankly, it also wasn’t until I was older that how remarkable their story is would have made any sense to me.
There’s a broader thread that should be talked about in regards to the historical oversights in promoting the stories of significant contributions by women and minorities, but we don’t really have space or time for that here. I do agree that not knowing their story isn’t a moral deficiency or character flaw, and thank you for saying so. Perhaps “explanation” would have been a better word there than “excuse”. I had no explanation for why I hadn’t heard their story even though I knew a great deal about that specific program.