It was on this day in 1969 when we first landed a man on the moon. Here's my account of that monumental event from my book THE ME GENERATION...BY ME (GROWING UP IN THE '60s) available here for a ridiculously low price. Even more amazing than a human being walking on the moon is how I can sell the Kindle version so cheap.
As when JFK was assassinated, everybody remembers where they were at this moment. I watched at home in Woodland Hills with my family and grandparents. Taxi actress, Marilu Henner was busy losing her virginity standing up in the shower.
Americans had become used to space coverage in the ’60s. There was really nothing to see: shots of Mission Control in Houston, maps, and anchors at desks. We would hear the communication between Houston and the astronauts. By the Apollo missions, we sometimes got to see live fuzzy video of the crew, usually only for a few seconds. Still, the first time I saw a grainy astronaut let go of an apple and it remained suspended in mid-air I was enthralled. Forget action movies and spectacular stunts. Here was an apple bobbing up and down in outer space. That trick still kills me.
What I do know is this: 450 million people around the world watched Neil Armstrong step onto the moon. And they all saw it at the same time. For the first time in history the entire planet shared a monumental moment together. A moment of awe and disbelief. All the hardships of the world, the various wars, famines, poverty, social injustice, discrimination -- they were all put on hold, as if God pushed a pause button. What was more profound – man setting foot on the moon, or that moment of absolute global unity?
And Neil Armstrong – what a great line to mark the occasion: “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." He wanted to say “one small step for A man” but inadvertently left out the “A.” It does sorta make more sense that way. But still, as a memorable line, it sure has more punch than – “THIS is American Idol!”
Grampy Sid had tears in his eyes. He was a teenager when he first heard that some huckleberries in Dayton, Ohio invented a contraption that actually flew in the air. And to go from that to a man landing on the moon all in his lifetime was completely overwhelming.
And it’s an even greater accomplishment than we realized at the time. The more sophisticated our computers have become the more we’ve begun to appreciate just how rudimentary and archaic the data and technology was back then. What we thought was state-of-the-art in 1969 was really the Flintstones build a rocket ship. And we blasted three human beings into outer space in that thing. Yikes!