Monday, July 20, 2009

Man on the Moon

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I was twelve years old back then, and I remember huddling around the TV with my parents and siblings at our Houston home, watching the ghostly images on the grainy black-and-white video. Amazingly, NASA taped over the original video transmissions, but it’s been restored from a number of sources, including CBS videos – you can hear late anchorman Walter Cronkite in the background:

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

These were the first words spoken on the surface of the moon, by Neil Armstrong after the lunar landing module (nicknamed the Eagle) touched down at 5:17 PM (Central Standard Time) July 20, 1969. With dozens of cousins in Chicago and New York, I remember it felt special that the first word spoken in the "stark beauty" of the “magnificent desolation” of the moon was that of my Texas hometown.

About 5½ hours later, at 9:56 p.m, Armstrong stepped off the lunar module onto the surface of the moon, with the famous words: "That's one small step for [a] man. ... One giant leap for mankind."

(And yes, there was an “a” in there.)

The Dick Smith Library has a display through the end of August on this 40th anniversary (outer lobby) as well as the 50th anniversary of the creation of NASA (inner lobby).


Yvonne said...

I'm glad someone wrote about this! Great job.

Kim said...

Just watching this clip to day made me get goosebumps. I can only imagine how it felt to people viewing it live.

Cathy W. said...

I remember watching it live -- I was in high school and was working at the Dairy Queen. We had a TV set up on the counter, so we could watch the landing. It was so cool!