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America was Great: 50 years ago, men walked on the moon for the first time

America was Great: 50 years ago, men walked on the moon for the first time

I was at summer camp. We were told we would remember this the rest of our lives. I still remember.

It still sends chills up my spine.

At 21:56:15 p.m. Eastern Standard on this date 50 years ago, men walked on the moon for the first time.

I was at summer camp. I remember the counselors bringing us into the rec hall, where two black and white TVs were set up. We didn’t appreciate it at the time, even though we were told we would remember this the rest of our lives.

I was 10 years old. I still remember.

Because I was at camp, I didn’t watch the launch:

Or the landing:

Or the moonwalks that would follow:

[Edwin Aldrin walking on the lunar surface. Neil Armstrong, who took the photograph, can be seen reflected in Aldrin’s helmet visor. Photo Credit: NASA]

Or the Welcome Home.

America was great.


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At the height of the space program in 1966, NASA was consuming 4.4% of the federal budget. Money well spent in my view. I wish we were still spending on NASA at that rate.

But now, a lot of money goes to the beaners invading our country. DHS recently put out a req for 2,000,000 diapers! I’d rather we spent our money on rockets than diapers. But that’s just me ….

    Tiki in reply to walls. | July 20, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    You know full well not to use the word beaners, but you went ahead a did it anyways.

    Go back to 4chan and flog your dolphin with the rest of the wiener-jerkers.

      walls in reply to Tiki. | July 20, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      I’ll describe the invading force in any manner I choose. They have no respect for our laws. I have no respect for them. I adopt the motto of The Cornell Review … “we do not apologize”.

PBS is running “8 Days to the Moon and Back” which is excellent. Takes me back. The 3 most consequential days of my life were the JFK assassination, 9/11 and the Apollo 11 moon landing, the last magic American day after the JFK assassination.

I still remember Walter Cronkite thinking himself too cute for words, telling the great TV audience that the returning capsule would splash down between Walla Walla and Pago Pago.

Thanks, Walt, I don’t know what the space program would have done without you.

I was a Senior in college on that day in 1969 and watched Armstrong’s first step on a black and white TV along with everybody else in my boarding house. My best friend, who had graduated the year before, got a job working for Air Research on the Apollo ECLSS. I wanted to get a job like that when I graduated, but Uncle Sam got me instead. When I got out in ’72, it was too late. I did manage to get on with the Shuttle program 12 years later, though.

My first day at USCG boot camp at Cape May, NJ, was 7/15/69. I didn’t know anything about this for weeks after they landed.

I was 8 years old on 7/20/69. My grandparents were visiting at the time. I remember all of us staying glued to the black and white TV watching men walk on the moon.

The American space program inspired me to go into engineering and mathematics.

On that day, everyone wanted to become an astronaut. What a wonderful time to be an American!

I was almost 18 and working as a fry cook at a root beer stand in western Illinois. We had a TV on, but I missed Armstrong’s historic step onto the moon because some philistine chose that moment to order a cheeseburger and fries, extra mayo.

Subotai Bahadur | July 20, 2019 at 6:14 pm

On 7-20-69 I was working as a line cook in my dad’s Chinese restaurant in Nebraska. I had just graduated from high school in Colorado [where I had kept my legal residence because I was going to attend the University of Colorado that Fall]. I told him that when the landing time came, I would be going off duty for a while, and did. I went to the bar and on the black and white TV watched the EVA. I then went out the back door and looked up at the moon and said, “You’re ours!”. Sadly, we gave it up.

Subotai Bahadur

Professor, I was at Camp JORI in Point Judith, Rhode Island, where we sat around a TV and “watched” Neil Armstrong’s first steps. I said “watched” because the huge TV’s picture tube was shot. It was still a moment I’ll never forget because my dad designed the main seal between the Command Module and the LEM. He’s just one of tens of thousands who pulled together to make it possible. USA! USA! USA!

I watched Armstrong him go down the ladder. He was describing the look of the dust as he moved closer. This was a big deal at the time; nobody had any idea of its properties—would it be vacuum-cemented into something like rock? Would it be a big puffy morass in which he’d sink like quicksand? A big mystery and serious risk. That’s why the lander was arranged to come down in an area which robot cameras had shown to have lots of rocks sticking out of the dust—if the entire ship started to sink into the dust, it hopefully wouldn’t sink too far before coming to rest on something solid, and the ascent module could still take off from the base to get them back into lunar orbit.

Then Armstrong put one foot down, tested it with a bit of his weight while still mainly supported by the ladder, and described what he was doing—”I can push it around with my foot.” Well, I thought that was pretty cool, in a scientific sort of way. Everybody was expecting some sort of staged grandiloquence, but instead we got some technical data. Perfect, just what such a mission should be.

I didn’t hear anything about that “One giant step” stuff until school the next day. They must have been watching some other landing. I stuck with my version—the words when he set foot on the moon. Foot, not feet.

I didn’t run into anyone else who remembered it the way I did for years. Finally in a brief essay or book introduction or some such by, I think, Frederik Pohl, I read that I wasn’t the only one who had heard it my way.

Another thing I recall was thinking what a bummer it must have been to be Michael Collins, the one of the three who didn’t land at all. He was stuck holding the fort while everyone else got to go to the party. And nowadays everyone knows the names Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and, ahhh, Michael Who?

DouglasJBender | July 20, 2019 at 7:12 pm

I loved the Space Program. I got a bunch of astronaut-related toys — I particularly remember one Christmas receiving a “Moon Space Station”, or something, which was large enough for three G.I. Joe sized astronaut figures (they were not “dolls”!!). It was very cool. I also remember chewing on the astronauts for some reason (I was young at the beginning).

Mark Stein has a good article posted today:

In his article Steyn quotes Bruce Charlton, professor of theoretical medicine at University of Buckingham, who believes that the reason we have not been back to the Moon is because we are no longer capable of doing it.

I have to agree. The question is not one of technology. It is true that we no longer have the technology to land humans on the Moon, but that is something that can be overcome with time and effort. What we lack is the willpower to do it in the first place. New priorities occupy the efforts of our self-anointed moral and intellectual betters.

We now live in a country where a solid majority of academia, media, and government bureaucracy views over half the country as a cancer to be destroyed. Their vision is not conquering the Final Frontier, but enacting a new Final Solution against the Deplorables. This anti-intellectual elite (which firmly believes in the pseudo-science of global warming and are convinced the Russians stole the 2016 election for Trump) has no time for space when they are busy “saving the planet”, to use that horrible phrase so often trotted out to justify any and all manner of evil.

I was 16, spent the evening watching at a girlfriends house. I never thought I would make it to the 50th.

I was then as I am now, in awe of those that made it possible.

As an engineer my father had been teaching me math and physics for many years. On this day I knew why.

It’s been 50 years. Anyone who’s been alive as long as I have knows the moon landings happened. But let’s ignore for a moment all the evidence we’ve seen during our own lifetimes. What about all the people with no memories of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or even the early 2000s?

Suppose you were a teenager instead. (Oh, for that to be true.) These people are much more susceptible to conspiracy theories regarding the moon landings. What is something you can point to right now that makes it crystal clear that the United States definitely put men on the moon in 1969?

Simple: The fact that Russia and China agree it happened.

There have been 5 decades of spying, traitors, espionage, defectors, etc. If America had faked the moon landings these governments would surely have had proof by the 1980s if not earlier. Now, can you imagine for one second these governments sitting on information like that 35+ years?

No. Even countries with a vested interest in making America the laughing stock of the scientific world agree that our astronauts stepped onto the moon on July 20, 1969. They have zero reason to lie for our benefit. It definitely happened.

    Arminius in reply to JohnC. | July 21, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    John, I walked through this with photog. The technology to fake the moon landing was actually more impossible than to actually accomplish it.

America is still great. All I needed to know about America’s greatness was tp walk down to the mess decks of the Carl Vinson, Belleau Wood, Dubuque. Not a one spit in my food. Try that at Wendy’s wearing a police uniform.

Coffee cups don’t last forever. I’m still drinking out of my USS Dubuque (LPd-8) mug. But eventually the washing machine will kill it.

texansamurai | July 21, 2019 at 5:26 pm

was a sunday evening in a different world–no cell phones, no internet, way before 9/11 and it’s associated insanity–a calmer, more peaceful america–how i miss those days

we watched armstrong descend the ladder and utter his famous words via a huge zenith console tv my parents had in the big ranch house where we all grew up

remember cronkite and all the cutaways to madison square garden and to other big and small screens all across the world and remember the sheer awe and majesty of apollo 11’s

three men from our own great country had made the journey of which all mankind had dreamed of for more than two million years–just incredible

we stood out on the street in the cul-de-sac where we lived and looked up at the moon surrounded by our neighbors of all different ages marvelling at the notion of men walking way up there–we stayed out there in lawn chairs or sitting on the grass until the sun came up–it was simply wonderous

legacyrepublican | July 21, 2019 at 7:55 pm

On July 20th, 1969, I was in Pinetop, AZ, with my family. I was 9 years old. My mother had rented a home for us to get away from the heat of the Arizona desert for a couple of weeks. The mountains were awesome and we were having a good time. (That was, until I was attacked by a German shepherd — Been afraid of dogs ever since )

Back then, having a TV in a rental home was a luxury and a risk. So, the home we were renting had no TV.

My mother heard about the landing and gathered us up in the car. She headed to where she knew a TV would be available to the public. Someone must have told her where to go. It was a bar we went to that night. I remember her saying two things to me as we sat there watching the first steps on the moon.

One, she said to me, “I know you are a minor, but on an occasion like this, no one will stop you from being in the bar.” She was right. Although, it would be years for me to understand why she said this weird thing to me.

Two, “I have goosebumps. Maybe you will understand one day when man steps onto Mars.” Hell, I will get goosebumps just to see them finally get back to the lunar surface.

To this day, I still have hanging on the wall the newspaper she saved from the next day telling the story of man’s first steps on the moon.

Three men? I owe a debt of gratitude to this great nation.

“Joe Rochefort’s War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway”

This nation paid me good money to be forgotten. Not so much for the maintainers.

Although it didn’t take much. Just one time, one slight.

Back in the day when the aviator’s ejection seat was charged with a mortar round. And then the maintainer is standing by the side of the runway, wagging a mortar round.

I need to emphasize I do not ever know of a case when a naval aviation mechanic ever used their position to retaliate against a naval aviator. That would have been so much beneath them to be beyond imagination. No matter how little they thought of the aviators, and trust me, sometimes that was mighty little, that aircraft was going to be perfectly maintained.

The plane captain’s name is on the side of the aircraft for a reason.