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atticus

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…….. At 10:56:15 p.m. EDT July 20, 1969?
“One small step..” and all that.

It’s one of those points in time that gets etched in your memory like Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination or the World Trade Center attack.

Actually, it’s different in that you knew it would (or should) happen.
More like an anticipated first kiss or the Beatles on Ed Sullivan - a good thing. Only much more important in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, does anyone care to share their story?
 

Pem Tech

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I was six years old at the time, but I had devoured every tiny scrap of info on NASA and the Space Race, and living in Austin AR. When those immortal words were spoken I was in my tiny rocking chair, firmly planted in front of our 20" B&W TV (you know, the one with those strange turnie things on the front) watching history unfold.
WHile I may not have grasped the deeper political and historical ramifications, it was the coolest thing I had ever see.
:eyepop:
 

genimijim

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Glued to the B&W tv, watching the grainy picture while dad was trying to adjust the antenna's to get a clearer picture.:cool:
 

Bazookadale

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Glued to the B&W tv, watching the grainy picture while dad was trying to adjust the antenna's to get a clearer picture.:cool:
Ah you didn't plan ahead! We had the rabbit ears adjusted well before the moon walk ( there was only one station we could get clearly so we watched almost every NBC show whether we liked it or not)

Remember the moon walk was originally scheduled for the wee hours of the morning - after the astronauts had slept. I was prepared to be up at that hour but was glad when they moved it up.
 

skycopp

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I was in diapers, crawling around and eating grasshoppers.
 

n5wd

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I can remember exactly where I was when Armstrong set foot on the moon for the first time. In 1969, a young man who graduated from high school had some serious decisions to make unless he was physically unfit for service in the armed forces. If he couldn't get into college, or couldn't afford to go, the choice was narrowed down to either (a) enlist in one of the services or (b) wait until the lottery to see whether you would be drafted into the Army or Marines and then sent to Vietnam. I chose to enlist in the Air Force - at least they weren't tromping around the jungle that much (he thought! Hah! But, that's another story).

After heding off to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio for basic training in early June, I managed to catch strep throat (something that wasn't all that uncommon in the tight living quarters of basic training) that put me on bed rest for about a week. Because that set my training aside for that time, I got recycled into a holding section until I could join up with another section going through basic. There were 8 or 9 of us, and though we weren't really through with basic yet, the DI's at least treated us as though we were human beings, though we were restricted to the barracks and mess hall.

One of the DI's mentioned that the astronauts were about to land on the moon - the first most of us had heard of the flight, since basic trainees don't get to watch TV or read newspapers. He mentioned that it would be real early in the morning and volunteered to bring a portable TV into the barracks so we could watch. As it turned out, at evening chow call he mentioned that apparently the walk would take place earlier than planned, and that I was probably going to miss it because I had "fireguard" duty in front of the set of barracks. Luckily, one of the other guys was willing to trade my duty for a couple of packs of cigarettes ( $.15 a pack in those days, IIRC), and we got settled in to watch the show. It was hot in the barracks, so the DI set the TV up outside between two of the barracks. where it was marginally cooler (hey, summer in San Antonio is only slightly better than summer in Houston - about 80% humidity instead of 100%!).

Walter Cronkite had just come on to talk about the first steps when the squadron officers came walking up and started raising hell with the DI that was sitting out there with us until the DI explained what was about to happen. Talk about a 180 - the officer was a pilot who was pulling training duty while he was recovering from an injury that happened while he was flying over Laos. As soon as he was physically able and back on flight status, he was headed to one of the flight training bases to work as an IP (Instructor Pilot) and had thought about going for test pilot school, so he, too, could apply for duty as an astronaut. He was extremely well versed in the space program as it was at that time, especially the Air Force side of the program (which was going full tilt boogie at that time).

Needless to say, it was a very interesting evening, and one that will remain ingrained in my memory.
 

dedleytedley

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I was seven and totally enraptured with the space program. Our family was on vacation in NFLD at the time and I had been assured that I could watch the landing. The tv reception was terrible and I remember being bitterly disappointed that I couldn't really see much. I've been hoping to see more coverage of the mission for the anniversary but I haven't seen much yet. Ted
 

MarkII

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Wayne, you were in the draft lottery in 1969? I was in the lottery of 1971, which I had thought was the second one held since the law was changed. (But I could be wrong about that.)

Let's see, 7/20/1969... that was a Sunday. I was 15 years old at the time, and was preparing to enter the 11th grade. I was also an avid follower of the space program (surprise, surprise), and I was normally glued to the set whenever a mission was underway (from prior to the launch to after the splashdown) and I had all kinds of books and magazines about the space program, too, but for some reason I wasn't watching when the actual landing occurred. I may have been mowing the lawn, out on a trip or something, but I remember my mother telling me that they had landed as I walked into the house. Much later that evening (well after 11 p.m.), I sat with my parents and my younger sister and brother (my older brother was in Viet Nam) in our family room, with all of the lights off, and watched the broadcast of the EVA on our little 17 inch black and white TV. I was simply amazed that they could broadcast it all from the surface of the Moon in realtime. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounced around and seemed at times to float above the lunar surface, I felt like I was floating a little bit, too. I also remember thinking, as I was watching the broadcast in my home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, that almost everyone else in the entire world had stopped whatever they were doing and were all seeing or listening to the same images and sounds at the very same time. For a few minutes, there were no wars, no riots or protests, no cold war rivalries, no clashes of ideologies or cultures. Everyone in the whole world just stopped what they were doing, put all of their divisions aside, and watched two men walk on the Moon.

MarkII
 

JAL3

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Holiday Inn in Beaumont, TX. I kept running from the TV to the balcony with the binoculars to see if I could see anything. I was just short of 6 at the time.
 

RoyAtl

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Exactly a year before the launch of Apollo 11, I had flown my first rocket. During that first year of rocketry, I'd gotten and built around 30 rockets, including a Centuri Saturn V. I had managed to get a few friends interested and formed a little rocket club, and we scheduled a small contest that day, so a few of the guys came over and spent the night at my house, so we'd all be there to watch the liftoff at 9:32am. After that, we piled into the bonneville station wagon and my Dad took us out to the new field he'd arranged for us. As it was for a bunch of 10-13 year old boys, we didn't quite have the patience or management for a contest, so we just flew a bunch of rockets. The two "big" flights of the day were to be my friend's Centuri Point, and my Saturn V.
The Point experienced bernouli lock on the launch pad (though of course we had no idea what that was!) and burned to a crisp! The Saturn went next, and since I didn't exactly have a lot of experience with clusters (this was before the Mighty D13 was introduced!), I only got one of the three C6 motors ignited, and either the Saturn bound up on the launch rod or it too suffered some bernouli lock (it did have some extra charring inside) but it finally moved and barely made it over my Dad's Bonneville before landing on its side in the hay while we waited for the ejection charge to go off. That was the only time I attempted to fly that rocket, and to this day I have no idea what happened to it.

Anyway, when Sunday rolled around my family had big plans to have a picnic in my aunt's backyard, which was great because my aunt had color TV and was on one of the highest hills in Athens so she could pick up all the Atlanta stations fairly clear. Aunt, Grandma, cousin and her new husband, Mom, Dad, other people from my aunt's neighborhood. While the landing was happening I was trying to avoid helping set up the picnic outside. As soon as my mom heard they were safe on the surface, she pushed me outside. Then after 9pm everyone crowded into my aunt's living room around her console color TV.

Kids these days don't know how good they got it with television. Back then, we crossed fingers and fiddled with controls. Didn't matter that the pictures coming back from the moon were black and white, fuzzy, and over-saturated.
 
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Fishhead

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I was six, and I think by then I'd killed the old b&w TV by trying to climb up the front of it like Batman. :confused2: (Seemed like a good idea at the time.) I watched the coverage, then went to bed, not really sure what all the fuss was about. It wasn't like it was baseball or anything. :rolleyes::) Later on I got a record that replayed the audio coverage, which my brother broke and tried to hide. Still have that, but you have to play it on a really bad record player to keep from killing the stylus.
 

gpoehlein

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I was at Boy Scout summer camp that week - I remember that they herded the whole lot of us into the mess hall where they had several AV style televisions set up so we could see the whole thing. You're right - it is one of those things that is indelibly imprinted in your brain for life!
 

jflis

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13 yrs old, sitting there, hugging my Saturn V, watching with my mom.

It was incredible...
 

n5wd

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Wayne, you were in the draft lottery in 1969? I was in the lottery of 1971, which I had thought was the second one held since the law was changed. (But I could be wrong about that.)

Mark,

The first lottery was in 1969 for which everyone born between 1944 and 1950. In 1970, the lottery for was for my birth year, 1951.
 

JoeG

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Occupational forces, Berlin, Germany. On guard duty actually. Rudolph Hess was the only war criminal prisoner left over from WWII and he was the only prisoner at Spandau.
 

Micromeister

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I was 20 at the time... flying up Virginia Rt 95 in my 64 Ford Fairlane 500, from a week at Goshen BSA Scoutcamp..a little south of Roanoke,VA (ASM at the time) listening to the radio feed of the landing, pedel to the metal trying to beat Neal's egress to the moon.
Made it to my apartment in Marlow Heights, Md with just enough time to grab my b&w Polaroid to snap a couple pic of the TV screen as he came down the ladder and hopped off the LEM. I, and the home folks toasted the event with a couple Pepsi's & chips and lots of Cheers... Very memorable couple of hours On the road and in front of the TV. OH What a Night:D
 
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jadebox

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I was seven. I recall my mother getting me up at what I thought was the middle of the night to see "men on the moon."

My reaction was "Aw, mom ... I've seen that ...." I wanted to go back to bed.

We had a black and white TV until I was 13 or 14. So, I didn't realize the video from the first moon landing was in black and white until years later. :)

-- Roger
 

jadebox

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And ... I really can't express how much I want to live to see people once again visit the moon then set foot on Mars. I want to be able to see it and really remember it.

"You don't use either robots or humans. You use both." - Steve Squyres's

-- Roger
 

Delta-IV

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I was 13 at the time, we were all gathered in the living room watching the TV and even had my 85 year old great grandpa with us. I remember asking him.."hey Pop, men are on the moon!". He looked out the living room window and at the moon and said "Kid, I don't see no men on the moon".

He was a great kidder..so I don't really know if he understood what he was seeing or not. He passed on just a couple months later and I never was able to ask him again. :(
 

MaxQ

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I was sixteen when they landed.

I had grown up with the space program and I guess we all had this great anticipation back then.

I followed all the space filghts and often awoke early to watch coverage on TV, they were even covered on italian TV where we were living for awhile, via Telstar I imagine.

Watched them all - from Mercury through Gemini, read about them in Life magazine - and as much as one could find out about the Soviet Vostok and Voskhod Soyuz program, which was very little. It was a race after all.

TV broadcast 24 hours the night before...unheard of back then. CBS dragged out everything on the moon, from fact to sci- fi, to keep us all entertained - and my brother and I stayed up all night to soak it all in.

The dry run of Apollo 10 kind of took some of the apprehension out of 11, but actually hearing Armstrong and Aldrin struggle to set it down before the bingo light came on - all while those "1201" alarms were going off, had my dad and brother and I kinda nervous.

When Armstorng finally radioed back (after that very long pause) that the Eagle had landed, my Dad (not normally given to emotion being a military man) hugged us both and we really had a sense we were fortunate to be alive, witnessing and living this historic moment together.

I distinctly remember Walter Cronkite on the air, with his eyeglasses in hand, shaking his head, breathing a sigh of relief, and Wally Schirra wiping a tear from his eye.

As a kid, I thought - idealistically so - things would change after we landed on the moon.
At the time, with all the coverage in the media, movies, and the national commitment, it appeared to me, and perhaps others, we would always have a future involved with this space program, and that the commitment would last. And the USA of course would be a leader in this business.

I have since realized this was probably the same kind of innocent idealism that Alberto Santos-Dumont must've felt, when he came to realize that merly seeing the world and mankind's place in it, from on high, was not to have the spiritual effect on the rest of man that it did for himself or for a few.
(He was heartbroken when the airplane that he is often credited for inventing became a tool for warfare).

I imagine the NASA and other prime and sub contract workers that started getting the pink slips over the next several years after the moon landing felt the same way.
 
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dwmzmm

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I was 13 at the time. Was Senior Patrol Leader of our Boy Scout Troop, so I had to report to our summer camp on July 19 in the afternoon to prepare for the rest of our troop's arrival the next day. Only got to watch the Apollo - 11's launch on through Lunar Orbit Insertion; missed the Lunar Landing and Moon Walk, as well as the activities on through splashdown. :mad: I did have my Dad's old battery powered radio, so I was able to listen to the commentaries as the Moon Walk unfolded and could accurately visualize how it must have looked on TV. My visualization was pretty close (when I got to see some of the short replays after getting home the following week)!!
 

Patch

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I was watching it on tv and wishing I was there taking the pictures as he came down the ladder. I had a good imagination. ;)
 

BobH48

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Mark,

The first lottery was in 1969 for which everyone born between 1944 and 1950. In 1970, the lottery for was for my birth year, 1951.
I got called to go for my physical in 1968. There was no lottery so you could be called at any time. We went to the local board and they sent us on a bus to Springfield, MA for the physical.

They told us that anyone who passed had about 2 weeks before the induction notice would arrive.

I had an accident with some electric hedge clippers when I was 3 years old that had taken off the tip of my right index finger just past the first joint so I was classified 4F because it was the "trigger finger". Any other finger and I would have passed.

They did tell me that they would allow me to enlist if I want to.
 

MarkII

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[Off Topic] In the 1971 draft lottery, my birthday drew the number 25, so it was a foregone conclusion that I would be drafted. I had just started college, and I was ticked. Even my parents were mad; my mother had just about gone out of her mind with anxiety when my brother was in Viet Nam ('69-'70), my father was scheduled for heart bypass surgery (a brand new and relatively unknown procedure back then) and they were still struggling to care for my disabled younger brother. Both of my parents had been anti-war for some time, but they were only just beginning to openly admit it and talk about it. Since 1967, I had made my feelings about the Viet Nam war very clear. My older brother was also skeptical about the war, but facing imminent induction, he had enlisted. He felt that he had no choice. My father, a WWII vet, said many times that it just wasn't right that I should be drafted; they had already sent one son over there for that foolish war, and one was enough.

In due time I received my re-classification to 1-A (available for induction), which is normally a sign that a letter containing an order to report to the nearest induction center would be arriving at any time, but no such letter arrived. I tried to concentrate on my studies while fielding dozens of calls and piles of mailings from recruiters. I just didn't know what else to do. After the school year ended, I spent the summer of 1972 on pins and needles. I was so convinced that I would be getting that letter any day that I didn't even bother to look for a summer job. September rolled around and I went back to school. In November, I voted for the very first time. In January, the peace treaty was announced, which was quickly followed by announcements of troop withdrawals. Gradually, the threat of imminent induction diminished, but I remained classified as 1-A right up until the Selective Service System was shut down. I never did receive a notice to report, nor did I ever receive a reclassification of my status.

MarkII
 
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MaxQ

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[Off Topic] In the 1971 draft lottery, my birthday drew the number 25, so it was a foregone conclusion that I would be drafted. I had just started college, and I was ticked. Even my parents were mad; my mother had just about gone out of her mind with anxiety when my brother was in Viet Nam ('69-'70), my father was scheduled for heart bypass surgery (a brand new and relatively unknown procedure back then) and they were still struggling to care for my disabled younger brother. Both of my parents had been anti-war for some time, but they were only just beginning to openly admit it and talk about it. Since 1967, I had made my feelings about the Viet Nam war very clear. My older brother was also skeptical about the war, but facing imminent induction, he had enlisted. He felt that he had no choice. My father, a WWII vet, said many times that it just wasn't right that I should be drafted; they had already sent one son over there for that foolish war, and one was enough.

In due time I received my re-classification to 1-A (available for induction), which is normally a sign that a letter containing an order to report to the nearest induction center would be arriving at any time, but no such letter arrived. I tried to concentrate on my studies while fielding dozens of calls and piles of mailings from recruiters. I just didn't know what else to do. After the school year ended, I spent the summer of 1972 on pins and needles. I was so convinced that I would be getting that letter any day that I didn't even bother to look for a summer job. September rolled around and I went back to school. In November, I voted for the very first time. In January, the peace treaty was announced, which was quickly followed by announcements of troop withdrawals. Gradually, the threat of imminent induction diminished, but I remained classified as 1-A right up until the Selective Service System was shut down. I never did receive a notice to report, nor did I ever receive a reclassification of my status.

MarkII
Erily similar to my story...1971 - only it was my twin brother AND me.
We just missed the draft with a lottery number of 52 ..we were called up for physicals around election time.
One of my friends got #9...his heart problem kept him out -(but killed him a couple of years ago unfortunately)..
My best friend got drafted but ended up in Germany as a radar technician.
He hated it there.

But he got exposed to skydiving which apparently some of the guys in Germany did to relieve the endless boredom.

We all go into that when he rejoined us at the University, after his tour of duty ended.
Safer than the 'nam I guess.....and more fun.
 
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MKP

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1969? I was 16 years from being born.
 

RocketT.Coyote

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I was about to celebrate B-day #12. Mom had to leave as Grandma had to go to the hospital with a bad headache. We were watching the ghostly images of Neil and Buzz on the Moon when I had learned in a phone call that my Grandma had died in the hospital.(Remembers the brief inverted image of Armstrong coming down the ladder.) My uncles had given me a bunch of those die-cut Lunar Module kits from the Gulf gas stations. I tried to make one fly using the motors from flying pinwheels without success. My birthday party was delayed about a week.
 

dlb

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Hmmm, 17, well most likely hitch hiking the U.S. on some weird quest, but I do remember (thru the fog) watching it and agree with Mr Flis. "It was incredible..." and life changing!

1968,69 and 70 hard years to remember, errrrrr:confused2: but I think I had fun.
 
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