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Where were you when Armstrong walked on the moon?

50 years ago today...I know some of you weren't born yet, some of you were children. But for those of us who are old enough to remember, where were you when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong was the first to step out onto the moon's surface?

I was on my first trip to Europe. 18 years old, just graduated from high school and on a People-to-People tour that was my graduation gift from my grandmother and my dad. We were visiting our last museum in Moscow (USSR) when the older lady curator came out to our bus to congratulate us for landing on the moon. That night we crowded around the TV in the West Berlin hotel lobby to watch Armstrong walk on the noon.

When my husband and I watched a PBS special about the space program last week, I realized I had never seen the the lunar module land on the moon because I was in the USSR touring. It truly was seeing history made for the first time.
Kathy

Posted by
13088 posts

It was during my college years, and I was at my summer job at a camp on Fallen Leaf Lake ( near Lake Tahoe), California. Fortunately there was one TV in Camp so we could watch it live.

Posted by
801 posts

I was visiting my grandmother in Sacramento. I remember sitting on the living room floor with my cousins all crowded around the TV with the adults standing in the back.

Posted by
9718 posts

My brother and I have been reminiscing about this all week. We lived in South FL and watched it unfold on TV. Our Grandmom lived a couple of doors down so afterward my brother's job (who was 15 at the time) was to walk her home in the dark. On the way she stopped, looked up at the moon and said she could hardly believe this. She was born in the horse and buggy days and saw the coming of the automobile, the airplane, TV and here we were - on the moon AND watching it!

Such a thrilling time!

Posted by
1255 posts

From England - I'm afraid I was asleep when Armstrong made his "small step". I did see the "touchdown" (or at least I think I saw it - my memory may be playing tricks, since I've obviously seen it since). I don't actually remember if the touchdown was broadcast or we just heard it reported. Most of the BBC/ITV coverage has been wiped since, so I can't check.

After touchdown it was apparently going to be many hours before they actually left the module. Since it was already about 10pm GMT, like many others I went to bed, expecting to see it happen live the next morning. As it happened, they stepped out earlier than expected, and here in Britain it happened when many of us were asleep so missed it live. I think it happened at about 3am GMT. So, I guess, a peak viewing time in the US.

Posted by
8293 posts

I was in a hotel in London, watching in the hotel’s TV room. No TVs in every hotel room in those days.

Posted by
3376 posts

Ah, I was just thinking about this. One of those monumental events you never forget. Still in college and preparing to get married one month later. Yes, 50 years ago! 1969 was a memorable year.

Posted by
5697 posts

Working my first post-college job at Bank of America in San Francisco -- since they realized most people would be staying up for the 2 a.m. event, we had the day off. Glued to the (19" B&W) TV set in my apartment.
And remembering the sight of Sputnik 12 years earlier.

In my parent's basement watching it in all its fuzzy glory on a 17-inch black-and-white Zenith TV. This was about 60 miles south of Neil Armstrong's hometown.

Posted by
3271 posts

Sitting with my boyfriend in his family's living room in Edmonton, along with the rest of his family. I remember how fuzzy the feed was, and how hard it was to see what he was doing.

Posted by
12897 posts

I was a 19 year old college student with a 2-S Draft Deferment who had finished the sophomore year the month before living with my folks in SF. and believing that doing a trip to Europe solo as a backpacker was impossible for me

Such lack of imagination would gradually change when the new semester began in Sept. 1969 and that the big undertaking would be doable with other backpacking friends or doing it alone. In the end my first trip to Europe took place in June 1971; none of the friends could make it (lack of money, interest, time, or what ever).

I went alone....a great and life-changing experience for the next 3 months.

On July 20, 1969 I was home in SF. with my folks.

Posted by
1144 posts

I had recently graduated from college and was living in San Francisco with my best friend.
We were poor and didn't have a TV.
So I've only seen the rebroadcasts over the years.
(But I do remember when John Glenn circled the earth -- I was at home with my family around the kitchen table eating breakfast and I remember that we all prayed for his safety. And I still also remember the feelings when Perth Australia lit up to say hello to him!)

Posted by
21724 posts

I was on active duty with the Army at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. Just back from my year on the beaches in SE Asia. The base theater was packed with several hundred troops watching on a huge screen. It was some type of a TV projection system and the quality was awful. The lunar lander had landed and we were waiting for Armstrong to come down the ladder. He was just starting to climb out when suddenly the lights in the theater came on, the TV stopped, and a 1ST SGT steps on stage and announces --- Theater closed, Everyone out -- NOW !! Huge cry of boos rang out but it was 9pm. The theater closed at 9pm -- no exceptions. By the time I got to my captain's office in the CHQ, it was over. So never saw the first step in real time. Typical Army, a major event being watch around the world and could not keep the theater open for another fifteen minutes. Regulations are regulations.

Posted by
3491 posts

I was 9 years old when the moon landing happened. I was in a bar playing pool when Armstrong stepped out on the surface of the moon. It got really quiet except for one older woman who kept yelling it was all fake.

I do remember thinking that someday that would be me with the next wave of permanent settlers. Didn't turn out that way, yet.

Posted by
524 posts

16 years old high school student watching it on tv in my parent's den.

Posted by
7609 posts

Frank — how extraordinary!! Can’t believe someone wouldn’t bend the rules for that!!

Pam, what a beautiful remembrance of your brother walking your grandmother home, and her expression of amazement.

Posted by
303 posts

I was a new bride, having been married on the 19th of July. My groom was assembling a little cardboard replica of the lunar module as I was waiting for him to pay attention to me! Yes, we just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, so I will always remember the huge leap for mankind.

Posted by
1 posts

I was not even born yet. Neither was my mom. Grandma was a little girl. She watched it 40 some years ago with her then working parents.

Posted by
1222 posts

A twinkle in my father's eye. Wasn't born for another couple of years. I do remember the first space shuttle flight and the first American female in space-Sally Ride. I loved Sci-Fi as a child and wanted to be an astronaut growing up and watched every shuttle flight. Was very upset that Sally beat me into space and cried to my parents-LOL. Our class trip one year was to Florida and we toured Cape Canaveral and saw Challenger on the launchpad. the year before she exploded. I remember I bought a bagful of "astronaut food". BTW it tasted terrible.

I still hope for another manned spaceflight to the Moon or Mars in my lifetime. Went out a couple of times with a guy who was convinced the moon landing was faked by the government. But then he also thought 9/11 was an inside job.

Posted by
8889 posts

Similar story to Nick. I was at school at the time, a teenager. After the landing they were planned to get some rest and then do the moon-walk. I forget the exact time, say 6am UK time. So I got up early to watch it, only to discover they had moved it forwards and I had missed it. The story was so it could go out in the evening US time.
They did replay the shot of him stepping out many times.

Posted by
5036 posts

We were in college, had been married almost a full year. I was working night shift at a restaurant that had a TV. DH was there, because we didn't have a TV at home. Everything at the restaurant came to a halt so we could all watch. Well, almost everything; I still had to serve beer to all the thirsty folks there. But they waited during the exciting "first step."

"DH was there..."

Who or what is a "DH?" I see that abbreviation often, but it's never defined. I wonder why people use obscure abbreviations when it's really not that hard to type the word rather than use the abbreviation. Are you trying to exclude those unfamiliar with your abbreviations?

Please think of your readers, and be kind. Not excluding.

Posted by
7 posts

I was seven years old and watched it on my family's black and white TV.
I was glued to the TV as my little brother and I watched the action unfold.
My grandfather, who worked for NASA at the time, was involved with making the food packs the Apollo 11 astronauts used.

Happy memories!

Posted by
21724 posts

DH is dear husband or at least I think it is.

Posted by
1016 posts

I was 6, almost 7. My family was on a driving vacation (faux-wood-sided station wagon and all--very 60's.) We were in Wyoming--Cody, I believe--when they were actually on the moon. I remember sitting in the car, listening to it on the radio, and at night looking up at the moon and my parents talking about people being up there walking around.
We watched the replays of it on TV once we got home.

Posted by
1842 posts

Someone's husband was there? Wow! Aldrin?

Fell asleep on the living room sofa. It was 10:42 p.m. and I just faded.

It seemed certain we would go to Mars by 2000.

A bit more trivia: Neil Armstrong's beloved daughter, Karen passed in the early 1960s and not only was it devastating for Armstrong, but those somewhat close to him said he was a different man after that, even more stoic and businesslike. It's a mystery whether he left Karen's bracelet on the Moon, as shown in "First Man." He went off on his own a bit, but nobody knows.

Posted by
304 posts

I graduated from college in June of 1969, and my roommate and I spent the next three months hitchhiking all over Europe and staying in youth hostels. We met a guy in Copenhagen who invited us to a party he was having, and I remember watching something about the moon landing on his tv. Of course, with the time difference, I'm not sure what exactly we watched, but it sure was a great event and everyone there was thrilled.

Posted by
5036 posts

Sorry, Matt, I did not mean to cause any confusion, or to leave anyone out. I had seen the abbreviation used here so often that I picked it up.

You'll see variations: DD for daughter; DW, wife, of course; and others that are only discernible from context: is DS dear son or sister? Also SIL - is that sister-in-law or son-in-law?

There are others that get used: DNFTT, YMMV. I've had to google many of them to figure out what the heck they mean.

So there is no intent to exclude; again, I'm sorry for the confusion.

Whoops, just opened a post and saw another one: FWIW.

Posted by
982 posts

My parents were getting dressed to go to a family wedding reception. I was already dressed - aged 16 - and sitting on the living room floor (as we did in our family) and watching the landing. My parents did not seem too bothered by this. To me, it was everything. I really wanted to be an astronaut and archaeologist when I grew up, you know, one of those archaeologists on a foreign planet. OK, college librarian is close enough - haha. I used to read a lot of science fiction.

Posted by
13513 posts

Whoops, just opened a post and saw another one: FWIW.

FWIW: For what it's worth. :O)

Armstrong on the moon: age 14 and watching with my parents on the familyroom TV. Only 8 years earlier, my gradeschool classes were gathered on the floor in the main hallway anxiously watching Shepard go up - and Shepard come down - on a fuzzy B&W TV.

Posted by
272 posts

Apparently I watched it on TV at home. I do not remember though, because I was only 4 years old. My late parents told me a few times that I actually did watch it on TV, and I have to believe them on that.

Posted by
11450 posts

In my parents living room - on an orange / rust shag carpet , watching a black and white tv

Posted by
6487 posts

Sitting home alone watching on my TV - had just separated from my husband, so didn't get as excited about it as I might have otherwise.

Posted by
99 posts

School was out and I had a summer job working as a car hop at Lee’s Drive-In. No tv at the drive-in.

Posted by
434 posts

I watched it at home with my parents. I was seven. It was past my bed time, and it was a real struggle to stay awake.

My grandparents took me to Cape Kennedy a few weeks before the launch, and I saw Apollo 11 on the launch pad. I took pictures of it with my Instamatic camera, but sadly I don't think the pictures have survived.

Posted by
7609 posts

Continental — me too, I was born January after.

Posted by
238 posts

My parents had taken me and my siblings on a train trip from Ft. Worth, Texas to Oklahoma City, so that we could experience train travel. I was eleven years old and remember watching the moon landing (not sure if it was live or a replay) while sitting in the hotel room.

Posted by
2331 posts

Hmmm, thanks for the opportunity to share this great memory. I was recently arrived in the small town of Nova Venecia, State of Espirito Santo, in Brazil, where I was serving as a volunteer with the Peace Corps. Still arranging a place to live, I was staying at a cheap boarding house, sharing lodging, bathroom and showers with a constantly changing assortment of traveling salesmen, truck drivers and utility plant workers. I was listening quietly to the moon landing on my short wave radio, in my open (no ceiling) cubicle, when all of a sudden the owner of the boarding house, Sr. Giordano, was knocking on my door. “Lourenco, Lourenco!” he exclaimed in Portuguese, “your people are arriving on the moon, you must come to my house and watch on the television,” so I shared the momentous televised experience with Sr. Giordano and his family. I must say, his home was a lot more classy than his boarding house. The next day, everyone in Nova Venecia was congratulating me for our great national accomplishment.

Posted by
681 posts

Staying at a friend's house and watching it on her TV with Uncle Walter's narration. It was amazing.

Posted by
9718 posts

Larry! What a sweet memory!

What a fun thread - I've loved reading where people were and what they were doing!

Thanks Horsewoofie!

Posted by
1607 posts

You're welcome everyone. I enjoy sharing my experience in Moscow.
Larry, I love your Brazil memory. The world is made smaller by our good experiences.

Posted by
16883 posts

My parents took us two little kids across the alley to watch with neighbors who had a TV, since we didn't.

Posted by
837 posts

At my parent's house watching a B&W TV with my boyfriend, now husband. But what I also remember is a year later, on an overnight train from Munich to Rome, in a cheap wooden-benched compartment for six, with a nun, and a cute Italian boy who spoke no English but pointed through the train window to the full moon and said "Neil Armstrong!"

Posted by
131 posts

In Boot Camp. The seargents probably told us, but I don't remember. I don't think I saw the footage until years later.

Posted by
1549 posts

Our family (4 brothers and me) were on the three week annual family vacation in the station wagon, and happened to be in Ohio that night. We always camped and that night is the only time I remember staying in a motel. I was 11 then. So the seven of us were piled on the one bed watching the moon landing on TV. Back then, TVs in motels weren’t a given, and I remember Mom and Dad looking for the sign that said “television”. The five of us kids would have slept on the floor in our sleeping bags. So clearly remember that night fifty years later.

Posted by
492 posts

I'd not yet come to be! By the time I was born, the moon had long since been walked upon.

Posted by
234 posts

That summer I was taking a 2-1/2 week trip in a Winnebago with the Boy Scouts, starting in So Cal. I don't know how it got arranged, but we went to a farmhouse in Montana and gathered around the B&W TV to watch the scratchy scene unfold. Unlike the adults, I just took it in stride . . for a naive kid, I didn't realize the enormity of the event.

Posted by
914 posts

Not born yet but old enough to remember drinking Tang at breakfast in the 1970s. NASA marketing at work!

Posted by
14917 posts

I was on staff at a summer camp in northern Wisconsin. I think senior staff (not me by any means) were invited to the camp director's house to watch some of the TV coverage (not during activity hours). His was the only TV around, so I missed it.

I did get to visit the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrier, that was converted to a museum and docked at Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco. If you live in the area or are planning a visit, it's well worth spending a few hours there, including but not limited to, the space program exhibit.

Here's a description from wiki:

USS Hornet was selected in 1969 to serve as the Prime Recovery Ship (PRS) for the Apollo 11 Moon mission. Hornet led the recovery of the first astronauts to land on the Moon following their splashdown back on Earth. Four months later, Hornet recovered the all-Navy crew of Apollo 12. The USS Hornet Museum has the largest Apollo Program exhibit on the West Coast of the United States. Artifacts on display include:

Apollo Command Module CSM-011 used for the AS-202 unmanned suborbital flight test[6]
Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) used by the Apollo 11 astronauts following their return to Earth
SH-3H Sea King used in the 1995 movie Apollo 13
Memorabilia and photos from the Apollo 11 and 12 splashdowns

Posted by
18 posts

My new husband and I had just moved to Satellite Beach, FL earlier that summer after graduating from college and getting married. Our new home was in a beach town several miles south of Cape Canaveral. We watched Apollo 11’s launch from the beach near our new home. We watched Neil Armstrong’s first steps on a TV in the doctors office where we found out I was pregnant with our first child! We still live in the same town and have been so lucky to watch many more rocket shots from our beach with all 4 of our children.

PS. Buzz Aldrin lives in our town now

Posted by
2018 posts

My husband and I took our two babies across the driveway and watched with our next door neighbors at McConnell AFB, Kansas. It was a quite inspiring event and awesome to view on TV. We had quite a celebration!