“One giant leap” – one giant memory!
When U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong put the first footprint on the moon 50 years ago, his words captured the moment…
“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The Apollo 11 mission was one of the greatest achievements in human history. For the first time, people from Earth had landed on and walked on another planetary body!
And for those who witnessed it on television, Apollo 11 was an unforgettable experience. What seemed like science fiction had become reality. And it was no sure thing…
No guarantees of success
Parts and pieces of a manned moon landing had been tested on previous missions, but many things had to go right – this time – in the hostile environs of space. If you’ve seen the documentary Apollo 11, you can see the many unknowns on the astronauts’ faces as they put on their spacesuits. They had no idea whether they would make it home. For the astronauts, the mission controllers and for the world watching on television, Apollo 11 was a nail-biting week of drama and suspense!
A historic television event
Besides the millions of Baby Boomers who came of age in the 1960s (myself included), television came of age in that decade. There were the first televised presidential debates in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. The assassination and funeral of President Kennedy in 1963. Live performances by the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. The original Star Trek series. Nightly footage of the Vietnam War. And the first men on the moon in 1969… What a way to round out the eventful Sixties decade!
50th Anniversary events around the country
Many ceremonies and special events have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Space Center Houston had celebrations from July 16 (Apollo 11 launch date) through July 24 (Apollo 11 splashdown date). The festivities centered around NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where a fully restored Apollo-era Mission Control room is open to the public.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL had celebrations honoring Huntsville’s development of the Saturn V rockets (left) that launched the Apollo missions into space.
Flagstaff, AR had ceremonies recalling the region’s role in training astronauts to go to the moon. These included organized hikes to the United States Geological Survey’s simulated lunar surface and an all-day celebration at the Lowell Observatory on July 20th.
“Discover the Moon Day”
The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. unveiled Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong’s newly preserved spacesuit (shown right, in Neil Armstrong’s official NASA portrait). Other activities included “Discover the Moon Day” on July 19th, which gave visitors the chance to discuss moon-related topics with museum scientists. Plus, there was a day-and-night celebration on July 20th – the date Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed on the moon.
Numerous other local and regional festivities honored the 50-year milestone of the first men on the moon!
Coins celebrate the 50th Anniversary
Many 2019 coins are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, including official U.S. commemorative coins. Plus world coins including a $5 silver Proof from Barbados and silver-plated half dollars from the Salomon Islands. Exclusive offers from Littleton include a colorized $2 bill featuring the Apollo 11 crew and our America’s Race to Space subscription program.