The Eagle landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar lander and put his foot on the Moon. It was 10:56 P.M. in the eastern United States. Yet millions of kids stayed up late to watch on TV.
In total, 600 million people saw the Moon landing. That was almost one of every five humans on Earth. They watched from Asia and Africa. They tuned in from Connecticut to California. People in Alaska saw a live news event on TV for the first time ever.
U.S. President Richard Nixon called the astronauts while they walked on the Moon. He said: “For one priceless moment in the history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one.”
That moment was now 50 years ago. Yet those who were there won’t soon forget. News-O-Matic asked some people to remember what it was like.
Maria Zuber had just turned 11 years old. “I was living with my parents in Pennsylvania,” she said. “I got to stay up late,” Zuber added. “It made me feel like going to the Moon was something that you could do if you worked hard. I came to think that there wasn’t any reason that I couldn’t explore space.” Today, Zuber is a famous scientist. “I’ve since sent over a dozen experiments to planets and asteroids,” she said, “including the Moon.”
Maribeth Shannon was 12 years old at the time of the landing. “So I remember being in the family room of my house in Chicago with all of my siblings and a bunch of our friends,” she said. “And then a friend and I left and started walking down the street. And that’s where I saw the blue glow of all the televisions of all of my neighbors,” she added. “Everybody was watching!”
Marianne McElroy watched Neil Armstrong step on the Moon from South Portland, Maine. She was 14 years old back then. “John Kennedy had said we’re going to do it by the end of the decade. And we made it by the end of the decade! You just felt proud to be an American. Because you felt like we could set goals and we were able to do them. We worked as a country together!”
“I graduated high school in the spring of 1969,” remembered Susan Nichols. “And in the summer I was a camp counselor at a sleepaway camp in upstate New York. On that evening of the moonwalk, a television was brought into the recreation center. And the whole camp watched together. This was the very first time there was ever a TV in camp!”
Maria Zuber learned a lesson on July 20, 1969. “Everyone should dare to dream.”
Updated July 19, 2019, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Russell Kahn (Russ)