Moon memories

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

July 20th, 1969 —

I remember sitting on the brightly-striped multi-colored carpet (it was the Sixties, after all) of our family room, with my brother Mark, my Mom and Dad, as we watched the ghostly black and white images of the first Moon landing. When we heard the words “Tranquility Base here — the Eagle has landed,” I looked over at my Mom, sitting in her favorite chair, and saw tears streaming down her face. I was only eight years old — mostly I couldn’t begin to figure out how we could see TV pictures from the Moon, since clearly there weren’t any TV stations up there — but remembering that moment, shared with my family, brings tears to my eyes now, forty years later.

Okay, if you’re like me, you can’t even believe that it’s been 40 years. To celebrate the anniversary, the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center is hosting “To the Moon and Back,” an exhibit of NASA artifacts, opening Saturday, July 25th and running through August 29th. The day the exhibit opens will be full of hands-on space activities, live video broadcasts from Space Center Houston, and opportunities for those of us who were “there” those 40 years ago to share our memories of the event. Not quite that long in the tooth? Then we hope you’ll share your visions and hopes for what space travel can be in the future.

But if you can’t be here at the Museum to share your memories on July 25th, you can share them through this blog. Just click the “Comment” link up at the top of this post and tell your story (and read other people’s stories). Again, if you weren’t there in ’69, you can describe your vision of space travel in the future — and we’d love to hear from kids, too! In return for sharing your story, we’d like to offer you a buy-one-get-one-free admission for you and a friend to come see “To the Moon and Back” — to celebrate — to remember — to dream — to wonder.

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8 Responses to “Moon memories”


  1. 1 Nancy Burton July 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    The decade of the 1960’s was one of great dreams as President John F.
    Kennedy called for the nation to put a man on the moon within 10 short
    years. From the early, oft failed, Atlas rocket tests, the Mercury,
    Gemini and Apollo Programs, through excitement and tragedy, pride in
    America soared. What a thrill it has been to witness these events. I am
    so pleased that the Fort Collins Museum / Discovery Science Center is
    marking the 40th anniversary of that “one small step for man…one giant
    leap for mankind.” And, yes, I am the mother who had tears streaming
    down her face on that wonderful occasion.

  2. 2 Toby Swaford July 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    The moon landing is one of the first news events that I really remember. I was between my 3rd and 4th birthday, and growing up in Central Florida was fully in love with the space program. Well, the space program and dinosaurs. I had more toy rockets and astronaut figures than any kid I knew. I also had a coloring book that featured illustrations depicting the various steps of the Apollo program from launch to splash down.
    I don’t think I ever colored in that book, but I do remember sitting for hours on my Grandmother’s lap, looking through the pages, learning the steps of what for me seemed like a matter of fact, and what for her was something out of Buck Rogers. We talked about the rockets and the spacesuits. We laughed at how the caps that the astronauts wore under their helmets made them look like Snoopy.
    I remember watching the countdown on our black and white television, and then running outside to see the real thing in living color. I remember drinking gallons of Tang and eating Space Food Sticks, just like the real astronauts. Mostly, I remember how lucky I was to have all of this happening in my own front yard.

  3. 3 Brent Carmack July 16, 2009 at 8:36 am

    I was 6 years old and living in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the summer of 1969 and have vague recollections of getting out of bed and watching the moon landing with my parents on television. I don’t recall many details of the event, except that I did watch it.

    One thing related to the space program that did resonate for me was that I had a Major Matt Mason toy that I played with all the time and it came complete with a lunar rover. I think I had the Major Matt Mason toy partially because of the space program but also because my parents wouldn’t allow me to play with G.I. Joe–it was the late 60s/early 70s after all, and the military wasn’t very popular at that time in my household.

  4. 4 Cheryl Donaldson July 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I was 4 years old when the moon landing occurred. I remember that my parents rolled the black and white T.V. into their bedroom (don’t know for sure why we were in their room) my parents sat on the edge of the bed while my sister, brother and I sat on the floor. While I doubt that I understood the magnitude of the event I knew that it was big for all of us to gather around the T.V. at one time. I am glad that this is one of my first memories!

  5. 5 Pat Shultz July 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    My husband, Charlie and I were in the livingroom with our three pre-teen children, Marsha, Martin and Melanie in front of our TV as were most Americans. Mainly what I remember is the intenseness of watching and holding our breath. As the astronaut stepped down and put his foot on the moon he said, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. I was crying and so very happy and proud. My Mom was so excited when she told me that she also had watched the landing on the moon, she lived in Cincinnati. She was 67 years old at the time and had seen travel from the horse and buggy to the landing on the moon. What a wonderful time to be alive.

  6. 6 Pat Walker July 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I was on a sleepover at my best friend Valerie’s house the day of the moon landing. Everyone was so excited about the landing that that’s all we talked about throughout the evening. We ate dinner in front of the TV—something we never did—and stayed there until Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface. The air was charged with excitement as we sat clustered around the small black & white television in Val’s basement rec-room. Even though the broadcast from the control room must have been interminably mundane we hung on to every word with eager anticipation. When Armstrong finally took that first “small step”, around 11 p.m. that night, the room exploded with cheers.
    For me, what made this moment in time so notable was the raw adventure, the absolute newness of the experience. I was witness to something completely and utterly new, the culmination of 2000 years of people looking at the stars and saying “I wonder….”

  7. 7 catfc July 20, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I remember the astronaut food. It wasn’t just Tang. There were all kinds of foods the astronauts ate, and therefore so did we.
    I remember there was always something sensational on TV–assasinations, war, protest, etc. So, to me, moon walking was about as sensational as the broadcast of the junior high production of Oklahoma.

    But I do remember that I went outside, and looked up.


  1. 1 From the Archive: Remembering the first moon landing « More to Explore Trackback on July 20, 2009 at 8:24 am
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