Remembering the First Steps on the Moon

Photo: BVE, All Rights Reserved

On this date, in 1969, Neil Armstrong took his famous first steps on the moon proclaiming, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." I have distinct memories of that night.

My parents decided to take us on a traveling-around-Florida vacation that summer, and the night we saw this on TV--I can't believe my parents let us stay up for it--we were somewhere near Cape Canaveral. I have vague memories of touring Canaveral and seeing the size of the doors where they wheeled the rockets out of the building. I have a photograph of that building and those colossal doors, but I'll search for that on another day. My other memory from that night? My older sister nicked herself badly while shaving her legs.

I half expect my sister or older brother to tell me I have these memories wrong, but the two remain intertwined in my memory: a fuzzy image on the TV and a scary amount of blood.

Throughout the next few years, every time NASA launched a rocket, our teachers gathered multiple classes in one classroom, turned out the lights, and let us watch the launch on a black and white TV on a tall stand in the corner of the room. It was a significant part of our upbringing and national pride.

I realize the world at the time suffered many problems and not everyone agreed about the expense of the moon launches. I'm glad that I was too young to know about the controversies, although I did have arguments with classmates who swore they filmed it all in the desert. There will always be skeptics. 

Despite the controversy, I'm glad to have witnessed these major points in American history. Not to mention the advances we benefited from here on earth. Do you like your camera phone or dust buster or see the benefit in the jaws of life? Many of the technological advances of the next few decades came from the research and development that went into the space program. Check out this list of space exploration technology spinoffs and scroll down for an interesting infographic. 

Where were you during the moon landing (assuming you were alive)?



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