On July 20, 1969 we were at my father's house watching the event on TV. The reason I remember this so well is that while we were watching Buzz walk on the moon, our first child, Luanne, exactly 10 months old (born Sept. 20, 1968) took her first steps. She began walking at the same time we walked on the moon.
We all talk about this every once and a while and it brings back warm memories. There are not to many families who can tell exactly when their child started walking but thanks to the space program we can and always will.
- TJ Minichillo
On July 20, 1969, I was anticipating turning 10 years old in five days. My family and I were camping at Patricks Point State Beach in northern California. There was a huge thunderstorm going on and the lightening bolts were shooting everywhere. The sea looked ominous and the noise was so loud you could barely hear other people talking.
We made a quick trip to the local market to get supplies and in the parking lot, the radio station was covering the lunar landing. As we sat in the car listening to history unfold, I was crying because I was very afraid of the lightening. When the radio announced that the landing had taken place, my mom told me not to be afraid of the lightening because it was the astronauts taking flash pictures. I've never been afraid of lightening since.
- Author Unknown
One Giant Step for Mankind, One Small Step in the Granary
To a kid stuck down on the farm in the summer, life can sometimes seem like being marooned on another planet. All your school friends from town are hanging around the public park, acting cool, going swimming, exploring cigarettes, and other peculiarities of adults. For me and my sister the only thing we were exploring in the summer of 1969 was our chores. But for a brief moment in July, we were also the greatest explorers of our own corner of the universe.
Our family farm is located in western Minnesota, 10 miles south of the sleepy rural town of Madison. The summers were filled with hot, humid days with the popping sound of growing corn, the lonesome squeal of the windmill, and a never-ending southern breeze that made all the tall pine trees in our groove whisper nature's latest gossip. The nights were filled with the happy chorus of crickets and the natural theater of heat lightening that we always sat up and watched from our bedroom window when we were supposed to be asleep.
I was 9, my sister 8, in that summer of space exploration that would forever change humankind. For us the fascination was not so much that astronauts were going to the moon, as to what would they find when they got there. I remember the lively debate of the space commentators on TV who made all kinds of wild speculations as to the texture of the moon surface and of the contingency plans if suddenly they had to quickly abort the mission if indeed the surface was made of cheese or some other soft material.
Our greatest adventure was to use the wheat granary as our own Apollo space craft. We would slowly step backwards down the ladder in the wheat bin, like Neil Armstrong and take that one small step onto our wheat moon. We would sink up to our knees in wheat and giggle as we flailed about in the dusty grain and argue who was the greatest astronaut. To us the granary served as our Sea of Tranquillity or space ship or anyplace else we wished to dream.
Being stuck on the farm developed a vivid imagination that helps me today as a scientist. The crew of Apollo 11 certainly fueled many a pretend space encounter in our granary. Now every time I hear someone mention a harvest moon I chuckle and think of the summer my sister and I actually landed there.
- Jeffrey A. Stamp, Ph.D
In July of 1969 I was 7 years old. We were in Virginia at my grandmother's house. My father was about to go to Vietnam and we were visiting everyone one last time before moving to Rhode Island.
My grandmother lived in a very small house. The grown-ups, to me everyone over the age of 13, made all of us little kids, 5 of us, go outside so they could watch TV without us making a lot of noise.
We pressed our noses against the screen door, trying to catch a glimpse of what they were all watching. It was dark in the living room; I could just make out the shapes of my parents, grandmother, brother and sister, and a couple of cousins from the blue glow of the TV set. Something important was on, something too great for us to interrupt.
"I don't understand it," I heard my mother say. "How could they spend all that money with a war going on?"
"It's special money they can't use on the war," my father said. "They might as well use it."
"I know one thing," my grandmother said. "It's all that spaceship malarkey that's causing us to have all this hot weather."
"I wouldn't doubt it," my mother said. "Once they start monkeying around up there, who knows what's going to happen."
Spaceship? War? What was going on? We leaned further until we were almost pushing in the screen.
"You're right," my grandmother said. "One day we're going to wake up and find a piece of the moon in our backyard."
I squeezed myself out and away from the door and stood under the crabapple tree, trying to catch a glimpse of the clear blue sky, but still wanting to be safe under those sturdy branches. That would be great, to have a piece of the moon, I remember thinking to myself.
- Dola Deloff
It was the summer before my entrance to the 9th grade when mankind took its first step on the Moon. Hot and humid outside under the Texas sun, it didn't take much coaxing to keep me inside, in front of the television to witness the important and exciting event with my family.
Forty years prior to the event, my father and uncle had stood in a cotton field watching the full moon rise. Dressed in their overalls, leaning on their hoes, they argued about this very subject. My uncle swore that man would never walk on the moon and my ever-so-insightful father insisted that it would happen in his lifetime. There and then they bet upon the deed, one hundred dollars to be paid to whomever was correct. Though how they would settle the bet to the contrary was left in the realm of the abstract. These many decades later, I think that my uncle's embarrassment at having to "pay up" was offset by pride in his country as he watched this phenomenal achievement.
Meanwhile, back in the future, we gathered around the TV set, lights low, curtains pulled tight against the intrusion of summer. As part of the lead-in commentary, the viewing audience was instructed how to make a photograph of the event. I took my mom's instamatic camera and followed the instructions. Every once in awhile I encounter that photo and marvel at its clarity and at how we have all been changed so much by that day in our history. Up until that time we had been marching forward in the present moment. That first footfall on the moon was our first step into the future.
- Author Unknown
July 16, 1969 was the day the Apollo moon shot was launched and also my 8th birthday.
My father worked at Delco Electronics, which made the guidance systems for the Apollo projects. He always brought home official patches and photographs for each of the Apollo missions.
Being the great Dad and kidder that he was, he told me that he was talking to NASA and could arrange for either the moon launch, or the moon landing to be on my birthday. But he cautioned that there wasn't a guarantee that the moon landing would be on the day they planned. So I opted for the launch to be on my birthday. The next day he came home and told me the launch would indeed be on my birthday.
We already had watched every Apollo launch on our black and white television and held our breath hoping that our heroes would make it safely. I was too young to know about racing the Russians and the New Frontier.
On July 20th, my family went over to my grandparent's house to see the landing on a color television. All the cousins sat on the floor and the parents and grandparents took up the couches. We watched and listened intently for the astronauts voices. I remember hearing the audio portion of the last few minutes before landing and finally the landing. I had tears in my eyes from excitement wondering what would happen when they opened the door. I wanted to be there with them. What would it be like to walk on the moon? Hearing the "One small step for man..." and actually watching the first steps on the moon was the most amazing event I can remember.
Even though it was years later that I finally realized that it wasn't possible for my Dad to have arranged the flight on my birthday, it still didn't matter. I still think of the moon shot as my special mission that my great Dad arranged for me.
-Brad Eigen, Web Design/Marketing
In the summer of 1969, I was living with my parents on our dairy farm in Maine. I had just turned 18 years old and was anxiously waiting for the summer to pass so that I could begin my first year of college in Virginia. If nothing else, life on a small dairy farm is hard, repetitive work. You plant corn, cut hay, and milk cows. Twice a day, everyday, you milk cows; and nothing interrupts that cycle. Well . . .almost nothing!
I had been following the Apollo 11 moon mission on the radio which played constantly in the cow barn. Everyone knows that cows give more milk when they are listening to good music! I knew that this space mission was an important event, but it took a most unusual occurrence to show me just how significant it was.
As the time of the landing approached, I could see that my father was getting "antsy." Suddenly, he ran around the barn pulling all the milking machines off the cows and putting them in the middle of the concrete floor. "I'm sorry, ol' girls," he said to the cows. "But, even you are going to have to wait for this one!" I could not believe what I was seeing. But at that moment, I knew that two, first time, monumental events were occurring. Dad ran from the barn to the house with me hot on his heels. We arrived just in time to watch the television coverage of Apollo 11 landing on the moon!
- Marjorie S. Elliott, Occupational Therapist
I don't remember much from July 20, 1969. I know that I was in a warm comfortable place where as long as I could remember all my needs had been seen to, but this was all to change.
I had no idea what was going on at the time, but while I was being pushed and shoved, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were making their descent. A few hours later, they received the OK for a walk on the surface, and left their footprints surrounding the lander.
Soon afterwards, I was forced out of my warm, comfortable living area, and into the cold, brightly lit world of a delivery room. The previous events of the day would guide most of the rest of my life. It was assumed I would have an interest in space, and I did. I even had a wallpaper mural of the photograph popularly known as Earth Rise on my bedroom wall as an elementary student. And on my seventh birthday, I thought it one of the greatest gifts a boy could receive to have the Viking probe land on Mars.
- Erik Appel
Saint Elizabeth Hospital, Covington, Kentucky, July 20, 1969. This place and date are engraved on my heart. While most of the world was glued to a TV set to watch the events of the Apollo 11 landing, I was trying to deliver a baby. If the doctor and my husband had been with me and not watching TV, I might have been a little quicker doing my job. After the Landing, the doctor gave me a shot and I finally produced the world's most perfect baby boy. Two miracles in one day. And these miracles seemed to go hand in hand.
My baby grew into a space program junkie, he swears he was marked by the landing. We decorated his room with the mural Earth Rise. He kept us very aware of the space program . . . we always watched the launches whatever the hour. He helped me learn about products derived from the space program so that I could lead tours in a museum. We vacationed in Huntsville and at Cape Canaveral. We visited the Space museum in Washington D.C. Through the years we have remained in awe of the space program and well aware of the benefits from it. Since that Sunday in July, I have seen such leaps in technology that have made my life easier and safer.
The influence of the Landing cannot be measured. It goes from little things ( every one knows my son's birthday) to the big ones, American pride and improvement of every day life. The Moon Landing and Walk, what a day!
- Janet T. Appel
Delivery Room 5:38pm
How well I remember the landing on the moon. You see, my wife was getting ready to deliver our little astronaut. The previous evening I took her to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington, Kentucky, with all intents to see her deliver our son and be relaxed when the moon landing occurred. Well she just wasn't quite ready. All day we watched the progress of the lunar landing in between the labor pains. As we drew close to the moon landing, the Doc said, "Come with me." So I went with him to the Physician's Lounge and watched in wonder at history being made.
After the landing and we had reports that the astronauts had landed safely, the Doc looked at me and said, "Well lets get this over with." We went to the delivery room and 10 minutes after the landing another miracle of birth took place: Our son Kristopher Erik Appel was born.
- L. Martin Appel, Marketing Manager
On July 20, 1969 I was in North Shore Hospital with a new baby boy who was just born (8lbs.,14 oz) named Daniel Vincent Cusick. I was holding the new baby in my arms when they announced the landing on the moon for the first time. I could only think that this auspicious occasion would add to the future of my son. It was a momentous occasion for both the history of the USA and for our family. On my son's birthday each year I proudly remind him of how important the day is and how he too will add to the future of our great country as did the astronauts on that glorious day. Anything that has to do with the landing on the moon that day I collect and either give it to my son or save it to remind myself and my family how proudly wonderful it is to be an American in these times.
- Fay Hope Cusick, University English Professor
Well this may not be to original. However, I was at the end of my 3rd pregnancy when the Eagle landed on the moon. The exhilaration of experiencing that period of history gave me the inclination to have it live on through the birth of my son on 7-23-69. Hence I named him Gregory Aldrin Donlan. Many a family dinner conversation has centered around how Gregory got his middle name. Its exciting to know that the stories will carry on through his children and so on. That moment in history will live on in our family forever!
- Terry Donlan, Insurance Broker
It was a memorable day for me. I was holding my son James in my arms watching the Lunar Landing and he cut his first tooth. What a historic moment for our family!
- Author Unknown
I was just over two years old. My father made me and my seven month old little brother stay up and watch the first step on national television.
I don't remember any of this, but I think it shows a lot about my father. His sense of history, his love for his sons and his desire that we be part of that moment put us on a path to take giant steps as well.
- Author Unknown
Where was I the night Buzz walked on the moon? The story never gets old to me. My mother and daddy, a very young couple from the mountains of East Tennessee, were living in a tiny basement apartment in Kaiserslautern, Germany. My daddy had been drafted from the familiar and much-loved home place to a foreign country. But, my parents had each other, and they were happy.
Mama and daddy settled down with great anticipation to see the wonder of man on the moon. So many stories, songs and poems have lauded the moon and its silver glow and now the world would watch in awe to see one of its own walking on the orb of romance.
Alas! It was not meant to be for mama to see the moon. She ran to the bathroom and while the astronauts walked on the moon, poor mama with her head over the toilet, listening to daddy's "wows," threw up everything she had eaten for the whole day and more! Where was I? As mama likes to say, "Honey, that was the night I knew you were going to be born. You made your presence known." Nine months later I was born and every time I see a picture of that beautiful moment when man walked on the moon for the very first time, I smile and say, "I didn't see it, but I was there."
- Author Unknown
I was 12 years old when we first set foot on the moon. As with most of the space launches I was watching the TV with my father. This time though he was teaching me to take pictures off the TV with his old brownie and a tri-pod. I guess he could see the history of the event that came with his age and I just took it as another space adventure.
Well we got some good shots of those ghostly images and I got to see the amazement and excitement on my fathers face. He later told be of Buck Rogers and of the stories of space adventures he grew up with that were now coming true.
I don't know what ever happened to those photos but I took the Brownie out of the closet where I had kept it for all these years and showed it to him the other day and told him how we sat together and took pictures of astronauts one fine July day. He was amazed I remembered, I told him I'll never forget.
- Bill Romanello, Police Officer
I was eleven years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. My mother, father, myself and my best friend were driving from Wichita, Kansas to Colorado Springs, Colorado. We listened to the landing on the radio, everyone anxious for my father to find a place to stop so we could watch the moon walk on television. I remember sitting in the backseat of my father's Pontiac and looking up at the sky and wondering if this was real. About five minutes before Neil Armstrong took his famous steps on the lunar surface, my father checked us into a motel and all four of us bounded through the door of our hotel room and turned on the TV, in time to see him descend the ladder of the LM to the surface of the moon. We watched for what seemed like hours.
It wasn't until much later that we realized, we had left the car running and the door to the hotel room open. Thirty years later, I called my father to ask him what he remembered, and also to thank him for finding that hotel in the middle of nowhere so that I was able to watch history being made on television.
- D'Anne Horner, HR Assistant
At the time of the first moon landing my family and I were living in Kwajalein, M.I. The evening of the landing my two sons; Gil, three and half years old and Kevin, two; and I were sitting on a big rock by the lagoon and looking at the big tropic moon. I said, "Boys, do you know that there are two men walking around up there on the moon right now?"
"Sure, I know that." said Gil.
"How do you know?" I asked.
He said, "I hollered up to them and said; hey guys, what are you doing?"
"So, what did they say?" I asked.
He replied: "They said; oh nothing Gil, just picking up rocks!"
And so they were!
- Dallas J. Sass, Jr., Retired Engineer
When Eagle landed, I was 12 and half years old. I watched the touchdown on TV, and when I see old news images, it is not the past that comes alive, but my still-vital memory of a seminal event in my life. Because that night, hours before Aldrin and Armstrong undogged the hatch leading out to the front porch of the LEM, was the first night that I ever defied my father.
My dad and I of course had had disagreements before, but whenever I resisted, I was always prepared to back down to his authority. This time, however, I stood up with resolute certainty, knowing that I would not yield. He was far from authoritarian or dictatorial. In fact, at 10pm he had merely suggested that I go to bed, knowing how important the event was to me. And again at 11pm, he kindly offered to let me go to sleep, and promised he would wake me when the moonwalk was about to begin.
Yet in my young heart, I knew he lacked my conviction and dedication to the space program. If the night wore on too long, if delays moved the EVA into the wee hours of the morning, he too would go to sleep, and read the news the next day or see the re-runs on television. But for me, the news would be old--it was the vitality of the moment that was important.
And so I stood up to him. I said that I knew it was a school night, and that I had class tomorrow, but I was NOT going to miss this. And no matter how late it was, I swore I would wake up and go to school without complaint, but I WAS going to watch man's first step on the moon.
He yielded to me without any argument. He knew what it meant to me. And so, sometime after midnight, if I recall the time correctly, we four--my father, mother, my sleepy little sister, and myself--watched Neil Armstrong bounce off that last step, onto the landing pad, and then take that first step, that one small step and giant leap. And I got to watch--a 12 and half year old boy, glued to our old TV set--and be there too.
- Daniel V. Klein, Computer Scientist
I was 17 and my brother was 15. This day was a day planned by my father for the family to be together. He wanted his kids to watch one of the most historic days of our lives. I think he knew that this would change the world and everything in it that we knew. And indeed it did! As we gathered around the television, I don't think my brother and I understood just how important this moon landing was until we saw the pride of a mans country in our fathers face (and maybe a tear). Because of my dads interest in the space program I have watched as many of the space flights as possible or that were on television and have had my own children watch them with me. I tell them the same thing my dad did, "This is history in the making."
I lost my dad in an auto accident 6 years ago, but when I think of this day, I think of how proud my dad was of his country and am very thankful he wanted us to be a part of that day.
- Debbie Knipp, Office Manager
My best friend Nancy and I were at her house and I was waiting for a ride back to my house when her Dad walked in the living room and gathered her brothers, sisters and I around the TV to watch history in the making. I remember watching Walter Cronkite taking his glasses off and wiping his eyes. It was the second time I had seen Mr. Cronkite speechless (as in the day he told my parents household, on TV, that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas).
I recall walking in my parents house yelling, "Can you believe that a man walked on the Moon?" I remember that night we sat in the living room and talked about what this unbelievable man-made feat had done to open new frontiers. My Mom stated that she could not believe that after all she had been through (my parents are Holocaust survivors) that the ability to watch a man walk on the Moon would be one vision she would never forget.
- Janet L. Paul , Nurse
I had been waiting for the moment of truth since May 5th, 1961. My Mother always let me stay home from school on launch days. This launch and landing was in the Summer, however, when 15 year olds are usually doing other things.
I waited all day on July 20th. Everything had to be just right. I had a model that I built of the entire rocket, including the Command and Service Modules and had tried to perform every maneuver with the Revel model in real time. I was attempting to land my model of the LM on my bedroom desk and landed it before Neil and Buzz actually did. I thought that maybe the wishful thinking might somehow flow to the Astronauts. I then found myself in front of our black and white Zenith, on the floor and prepared to shush anyone talking.
How could anyone who lived in Ohio not be interested and glued to the TV? Our beautiful Ohio was sending one of her sons on the greatest adventure of all time. And he would be the First. I, of course, felt no sorrow for the state of New Jersey. No one remembers Number 2. But looking back I remember all of it. Neil and Buzz had very calm voices. Not a word was wasted. My older brothers all made fun of me for years, about how "Space Crazy" I was.
Well, on that day, July 20th, 1969, when the Eagle landed, I looked up at my family and just said "It's now for real!" When Charlie Duke said "You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we're breathing again, thanks a lot!" I thought to myself, "Yeah, me too, from Hubbard, Ohio.
That night, just before closing me eyes, I looked across the deep dark space between my bed and my desk and saw the LM sitting still on MY Tranquility Base, and just smiled, WHAT A SHOW ! WHAT A SHOW!
- John Kuty, Police Dispatcher
My birthday is July 21. Having the moon landing on the 20 was an early present but I was wishing they'd planned it for the 21. I was eleven at the time and I marveled at the fact that as I opened my presents the next day, (of course, they were all Major Matt Mason toys, Mattel's man in space), reality was finally catching up with a common fantasy.
As we watched the event, my father said this was President Kennedy's dream come true. I remember the day he died, it was awful and even though I was five at the time, I knew the world had lost someone great. I still remember the feeling of a loss so awesome, it was impossible to measure. When my father said it was Kennedy's dream, I looked up at the ceiling as he snapped pictures of the TV, "I hope you're watching President Kennedy." We both looked at each other and started crying. After a decade of horror, the good guys had finally won one.
- John Siordia, Security
My husband and I were living in Las Vegas, Nevada in the summer of '69 and awaiting the birth of our first child. My obstetrician promised me that if baby arrived during the moon landing or walk he would arrange for a TV in the delivery room so HE wouldn't miss it! Our daughter arrived at 8:36 a.m. PDT. Twelve hours later when Armstrong was getting ready to step off the lunar lander I was so tired from the day's excitement that I could barely keep my eyes open. My husband poked me in the ribs and said "Wake up and watch this, 'cause you'll kill me in the morning if you miss it!" All I remember is the first step and Armstrong's famous remark.
We've always told Jenny how lucky for her that her parents weren't trendy enough to name her Luna or Tranquility! She loves having a unique birth date and birthplace!
- Julie Stein, teacher
On that magical week when the men first landed on the moon, I was a young Scout. As in other years, I was scheduled to be at Bruin Lake Boy Scout Camp in Southern Michigan that summer. I was excited both about going to camp, AND the landing. I followed the space program avidly. As one member of the very FIRST group of boys in our District ever to earn the relatively new Space Exploration merit badge, I knew this walk was the culmination of a decade of work leading up to it.
I was VERY disappointed to learn I was going to be away at camp during the landing and the walk! There was of course, no television anywhere in this decades old rustic campsite, where we lived and learned our skills, living in tents and using outhouses. Power was not available at any of the campsites, nor most of the common buildings. I took a battery powered hand held radio with me, but I knew it just wasn't going to be the same. (Battery powered TVs weren't around back then.)
The day of the landing though, we were all called to come to the Commons hall. To my surprise and delight, there was my Dad. He had brought our old dilapidated black and white 19" TV set. It was powered up! (By a generator? I never thought to ask). It also had a temporary antenna set up for those few days, so we could ALL see the landing, and later, those fateful steps. It was quite an inspiring sight for all of us, and I was so proud that MY dad made it happen for the entire camp.
My son is now a 10 year old Webelos in Cub Scouts. I'm watching him grow into one of the finest young men any Dad would be proud to ever call his son. He's interested in Space, too. This week, during the 30th anniversary week of that historic event that made such a difference to me, I'm scheduled to attend Scout Camp with my son at Camp Munhacke in Southern Michigan. What I hadn't realized until a few weeks ago, was that the District reopened the old Bruin Lake campsite under a new name. Yes, it turns out it is the same campsite. It was serendipity, I'm sure. However, it startled me when I realized what this means.
Within days of the 30th anniversary of that historic walk that changed my life, I will be with my own son, at the same place, where I was one generation ago with my own Dad. What could be more fitting?
I know that science and technology has affected his life already, as the space program did for me. I can only hope that the memories he takes with him of these days with his Dad, his Scouting experiences, and the space program, give him half as much happiness, inspiration, and pride in being an American, as it did for me thirty years ago when I was there at that same site, watching those amazing small steps for mankind, with my own dad by my side.
- Keith McClary, Technology Consultant
On that day the Apollo was to be launched, I was up early. My father, a prison guard who worked at the Elmira Correctional facility in New York was finally home after his long night shift. I always looked forward to seeing him come home, turn on NBC news, and then play with me while my mother was in the kitchen preparing lunches for my sisters to take to school.
My father made a mediocre living and with a wife, three children and lots of payments-- things were tough. Our black and white Zenith TV was the mainstay of our mornings. After Daddy watched his news, he would tiredly go up to bed and try to sleep at which time I would swamp the TV, sit on Mommy's lap and watch "Popeye the Sailor Man."
But this particular morning, Dad had said that he was sorry, but he had to keep it on the news channel because it was a very special day. He went on to explain in the most simple terms that a four-year-old could understand, that there were men that were going to get into a rocket and fly all the way to the moon! He said that no one had ever been there because it was so far away. But he told me that it would be one of the most important days ever and that I should watch it with him.
My interest was piqued even at four. ("a rocket ship?!" - "all the way to the MOON?!") He told me to try to pay attention and then he held me by the shoulders, looked very seriously at me as he squatted down and said to do my very, very best to remember this as we watched it.
In all the years since that day and it has been 30 years for me to remember, but I never ever forgot watching the launch, flight and success of the lunar landing on our old Zenith on the metal TV stand thanks to my Dad.
- Laura S. Laird-Murray
At first, the evening did not seem special, yet it is carved into my soul. Like any other summer day at my grandparent's house, the windows were open with a blessed breeze on a burning Kansas night. My grandmother's definition of a celebration was making an ice cream milkshake. Perhaps that was my first clue that this was a special event.
Before the landing, I had strained to look at the moon with false hopes of somehow seeing the ship nearing it. That silver disk simply glowed back at me, looking as it always had.
My grandmother was a beautiful woman with a face that was simply love. I was freshly 13 then and did not have her perspective of what the images on the television screen meant. That is what she shared that night , "firsts" in her life. A life that had celebrated 72 birthdays and Lindbergh, and the first airplane that she ever saw. Stories of her youth and her coming of age gently filled the room. The first crackle of a radio program; the incredible first image seen on a television screen sprinkled into the story line. "So much change, so much change," she often exclaimed.
No history book could impact me the way she could that night. By the time the astronaut was lowering his foot to the dusty ground, I knew that I had seen something few humans in all history would ever directly experience--the FIRST footprint on the moon. I would pass my stories on someday to young children and their awe would be there as mine was that night. "So much change, so much change," will be my words.
Now when I see that silver disk on some lovely evening, I think of my grandmother. The moon does look different to me now. Man has been there, but more than that, my grandmother's love is there.
- L. Nelson
I was 14 on the day the astronauts landed on the moon. I remember that day clearly as I had my first baby-sitting job taking care of twin boys. I remember putting them down for a nap and sitting alone in the den watching them land and get out. To this day, I still don't know why it frightened me so much. I remember running around the house locking all the doors and windows. I wasn't frightened so much for them as I was for us on Earth. I thought they were going to unleash horrible things by going there. It was a weird feeling for a kid. While everyone was excited, I was just scared to death that this was sure to bring down the end of the world!
Nutty, huh? It was just all too much for me as a kid dealing with JFK being killed and now this. Man in the Moon? I think innocence was lost for us kids after the assassination and the world didn't feel so safe anymore.
- Lorraine Hernaez, Dental Software Trainer
I was just over 4 years old when the Eagle landed, and don't remember as much about the moon landing itself as I do about my mother waking me up out of a sound sleep and carrying me into the kitchen, where we had a little television set up on the table. She sat me down in front of it and told me to pay real close attention to what I was seeing, because even though I was too young to understand it, it was about to change the world. So now, even though I don't remember anything that I saw, I remember everything about how excited mom was that somebody from our state, Ohio, was about to become the first person ever to step on the actual, honest-to-God, moon! Which is the best memory of all.
- Maria Storts, Auditor
I was a star struck 10 year old when Apollo 11 went to the moon. My grand parents had been staying with us for a few days enjoying the grandchildren. My granddad was absolutely engulfed in the idea that man was going to the moon. And what kid wasn't interested in being an astronaut at age 10?
The previous year my grandparents had gotten my parents a small black and white portable television for Christmas. My granddad and I, as well as most of the family, watched the Apollo 11 mission in the family room in the basement for most of the evening. Then as parents will say, "You have to go to bed." I was not happy about going to bed when all this was to be seen and history was being made. But that was when things got really great.
My granddad always stayed in my room where I had bunk beds. I got the top and he got the bottom. That night he volunteered to tuck me in. When he tucked me in he said there would be more to watch and we would watch Apollo 11 together. After the rest of the family settled in to bed my granddad prowled to the basement, brought the small black and white television to my room, set it up on my desk, and then proceeded to take blankets and block the light from going under the door and waking others in the house. He then woke me up and said, "Now we can watch together." All night we watched the mission, and the news. We looked out the window at the moon through my telescope to see if we could see the Apollo 11 crew.
Apollo 11 changed the world but it also is one of my fondest memories of my granddad and the special things kids and granddads do to bond the generations. I hope some day I do the same for my grandchildren, and share a history making event that forever touches their lives and the world.
- Mike Parks
I can remember exactly where I was 30 years ago, when the Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the surface of the moon.
As residents of central Florida in the 60's, my friends and I could watch the Gemini and Apollo launches from just 30 miles away. As the Apollo program progressed, this group of 13 year olds was enthralled, knowing someday that we might be astronauts, denied the opportunity of participating in the soon-to-end Apollo program because of our ages.
So three of my friends and I did the next best thing: we took part in our own "Apollo 11 1/2" mission at the same time the real Apollo 11 astronauts were on their way to the moon.
Converting a half-built observatory in one friend's back yard into a simulacrum of the Apollo Command and Lunar Modules took a few weeks of work and all the spare parts we could scrounge from our fathers' junk boxes. Lights, switches, batteries and meters set in wooden panels gave us working models of the Apollo control panels. Stringing an intercom between the building and our Mission Control Center in one corner of the garage completed the scene.
When we corresponded with NASA about our plans for our own moon mission, the Public Affairs Office was very helpful--they provided several thick manuals detailing the mission plan down to the minute.
We loaded the Command Module with supplies, sealed the junior astronauts in at the same time the real Apollo 11 crew got into their capsule, and our mission was underway. For the next eleven days, we followed every detail of the real Apollo 11 mission: the launch, the injection into the lunar trajectory, the descent to the moon's surface--even the rest and exercise periods. We also kept our eyes on the real mission, of course, with TVs in both "Mission Control" and the "Command Module."
When it came time to set foot on the lunar surface, our two junior astronauts crawled out of the Lunar Module through a tunnel into a camping tent, where the lunar surface had been prepared with craters and moon dust. They stayed there about two hours, like the real astronauts, taking soil samples and photos.
The rest of the mission was anticlimactic--the ascent from the lunar surface, injection to Earth return, and splashdown. Coming out of the Command Module after eleven days held the same elation for the Apollo 11 1/2 astronauts as it did for the real ones.
Our mission was well-covered by the local news media, and I still remember to this day being interviewed by local radio and TV shows as the mission went on. The coverage, side by side with the coverage of the real moon mission, only added to the sense that we were really there.
I have long since lost track of my friends, the junior astronauts of Apollo 11 1/2. But I know, wherever they may be, they are likely thinking the same thing I am on this 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission: We were there, in spirit, with Neil, Buzz and Michael. We didn't just watch the moon landing as most of the world did--we took part in it. That's a memory I'll always cherish.
- Richard Fall
I was 15 years old the summer of 1969. I had seen 2001: A Space Odyssey the summer before and was still enthralled by that visionary look at man in space.
I remember that the excursion onto the lunar surface was scheduled for the morning of the 21st, when all of a sudden they interrupted regularly scheduled programming at, I believe, around 10:00pm CDT. Living in Oklahoma City at that time, I thought it might be a tornado warning. It seems Neil and Buzz were as excited as I was and had decided to advance their schedule by a few hours.
I remember the shadowy, flickering, black and white image as Neil's feet appeared at the top of the screen. The after-image of one leg of the LEM was visible as Neil crossed in front of it. I thought that because of the bright unfiltered sunlight on the moon that we were able to see through matter.
I don't remember if it was during or after the walk that I went outside to look at the moon. I don't even remember what phase it was in. I do remember that my eyes started watering. I didn't know why, and I was embarrassed to go back inside for a while. I had seen live TV at its worst 6 six years earlier when Ruby shot Oswald. Now I had seen it at its best.
- Rick Nelson - Skydiver
For a 13-year-old boy who had built scale models of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules, the actual moment was incredible. I remember a few minutes after the LEM touched down, going outside my grandparents' house in Conway, Ark., to look at the moon and imagine two Americans up there.
What made more of an impression came a few days later during a visit with family members. I was only 13, so I didn't dare interrupt their discussion of how it was impossible to fly to the moon, that the whole thing had been staged in a TV studio. I couldn't believe anyone could doubt what I considered to be the greatest accomplishment ever.
- Steve Dulas, Reporter
My twin sister and I were 14 days old and my father woke us up to "watch" history.
- Suzanne Higgins, Doctoral Student in Education and Mother
- Michelle Herbert, Mother
Where was I when the astronauts walked on the moon? I was on Cape Cod at my family's summer home at Monument Beach with my 11 month old son. Andras, and my college roommate. It was a difficult time: my uncle was in Tufts Medical center dying of brain cancer. My husband and son and I had just moved back to Boston from Santa Cruz and we were still trying find a house and settle in. My small son was about to take his first steps out of babyhood to childhood.
We had a small black and white TV so that we could watch the landing. And as the first baby step for a man and giant step for mankind were taken, Andras took his first steps. Which made the day more memorable, the walk on the moon or Andras's walk in the room? It's got to be a toss up. For me it's always been the confluence.
- Susan B. Jones, Technical Writer