It was July 20, 1969 and I was 12 years old. It was a very big deal, and yes, I was in front of the TV.
I remember it well. Those were the days of intense competition between Russia and the US. I remember sending away for “free literature” (aka propoganda) directly from Russia to include in my school reports on space exploration. Me and 100,000 other grade school students.
The full-color, glossy brochures I remember the most were those showing the freeze-dried space food. For some reason, that held a fascination for me. How did they eat in space and yes, how did they eliminate their waste in space?
I remember my family priest (yes, I was raised Catholic) and a fellow-parishoner making a $10 bet on the actual day it would occur (the parishoner won). Can priests wager bets?
I remember the crackly voice on the TV saying “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” and the very poor reception on our TV with rabbit ears.
I grew up in the country and we still had a party line (if you even know what those are) and here there was a man walking on the moon!
I’m also from Ohio and so was Neil Armstrong. He is from Wapakoneta – about 3 hours from here. If you drive by it on I-75, you can see the museum from the highway, dedicated to the moon landing. It is shaped like a moon on the horizon. Back then, it was the only thing out there — surrounded by cornfields. Today, it is surrounded by a tangled mess of fast-food restaurants and chain motels.
Have we progressed as a nation since then? I wonder.