one small step for man

Ken Levine, on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing:

I honestly don’t remember whether we saw video or just heard audio
when Neil Armstrong made his historic first step. You’d think that
would be indelibly imprinted in my brain but it’s not. I’ve seen the
video so many times since but that first time – I just can’t tell ya.

What I do know is this: 450 million people around the world heard it.
And they heard 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?

Ken's blog is great, especially if you are a writer, a baseball fan, or enjoy television history. If you're in the maximum overlap of that Venn diagram like I am, it goes into the "essential" folder in the old RSS reader.

20 thoughts on “one small step for man”

  1. I’ve seen the replay so many times, the actual moment is lost for me. What does stand out was actually Apollo 12, where they accidentally fried the camera by pointing it at the sun and ried to repair it. Including whacking it with a tool.

  2. OOOHH— Great posting of a remembory! My Dad worked at McDonnell Douglas back then and he still refuses to see Apollo 13 because he said it was too stressful when he lived it: he was one of the guys in the room using the random stuff to make the “fix.”
    Thanks for passing this along!!

  3. I feel fortunate to have a fairly clear memory of that day, but it’s for kind of a silly reason. It was my birthday and I was a little miffed that people were more interested in the tv* than they were in me. I clearly remember sitting on the floor with some cousins and watching it, although I didn’t fully grasp the significance of it until much later. I’m thankful to have that connection to keep it clear in my mind as the years go by.
    *(The first color tv I’d ever seen, actually. My father had rented it for the day, for all the good it ended up doing us….)

  4. Whenever I read stuff like this I’m always filled with a bit of awe and bit of jealous regret: awe that we went to the moon on more or less hope and sweat, and jealous that we’ve never done that in my lifetime, and we’re not planning to. Maybe Mars :)

  5. I watched it on TV. We were on vacation in the Poconos [how is that for cliche?]. We were one of many families in a cabin at the side of the lake. The whole place went silent as one-by-one families retired to their cabins to watch.
    Dad had worked on the ground computers so we had some vague idea how important this all was. But the thing I remember the most is watching that first step and wishing I could go there. My brother said they didn’t send girls. When NASA brought the first women into the space program, I plastered the walls with their pictures.

  6. My dad is a great one for building memories. All through my childhood he has asked us “where were you x years ago today?” on any given day. Something he continued even after we were married and out of the house.
    Even without that though, I will never forget the moon landing. We were on another family vacation, in a campground in Gettysburg, PA. The owner of the property ran a drop cord out to a card table with his personal black & white TV balanced on it. Everyone in the campground gathered around to watch. It was amazing not only because of the historical aspect, it was the first time in several days that it wasn’t pouring rain. Without that break in the weather we wouldn’t have been able to watch.

  7. I was about 5.6 yrs old on 7/20/69. I don’t remember it either. My dad was an electrical engineer, and we had a TV (B&W ATT) so I’m sure we did, but I honestly don’t remember. That, and anything about my grandfather, are some memories I’d like back, but I have a sneaking suspicion Ritalin took them from me. Of course, I can’t prove anything and I don’t want to get off on a rant here..(too late!) ; )

  8. All right, I was only 3 years old when they landed on the moon, so I can’t be 100% sure of the details so it may be a different Apollo mission on TV I’m remembering. I remember playing with the Astronaut GI Joe, messing around at the TV screen of a console TV and making him float in the black area of space above an image of the moon’s surface. By summer of 1970 we’d moved from the house I remember this being in, but playing in this way is one of my earliest memories.

  9. It occurred to me recently that Kennedy, who set this epic goal, never lived to see it happen. Everytime I remember that it makes me a little sad.

  10. My husband and I just watched the When We Left Earth documentary. Watching the footage of all they did when when it took place was just amazing. The moon landing is second to when they did the first space walk. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was holding my breath while watching.

  11. It surely was an amazing day. A day which significance and importance will not reoccur so soon – if it will reoccur at all.
    The magic of the moment which fascinated the people back then, the pause button which was ‘pushed by god’ will be harder to reestablish, harder to push again next time, when mankind makes its way to mars, for example. Today, I think, we are used to technical stuff, we are used to hear about new improvements, new inventions, to hear about crossing borders of imagination. We are told about the history of the universe and the origins of mankind on National Geographics, or hear about new developments in experimental physics in the news. The Large Hadron Collider opens new dimensions for experiments and our understanding of materia and existance (and still hasn’t destroyed the world ;P), the big bang, and all that. People have witnessed the unmanned mars missions on TV or over the internet.
    If we now make it to the mars, and really put a foot on it – it will be just another stepstone, an expected milestone on the road of technical evolution. It may be more than just a news headline, it may be something really big.. alright.
    But it will never be the same like 1969. That moment back then, these words, which are known by almost everyone on this planet, they really meant something. This was exactly what these words beared: “to boldly go where no man has gone before”.
    And, you’re right, Wil: It’s really almost impossible to tell which moment had been more profound, for this combination was unique, and everyone who witnessed it should treasure it.
    What do find a little disturbing: Even here in these comments, the theory of the moon hoax was mentioned. It was not a fake. Period. We went there. Perion. Read this. Period. (–> http://darryl-cunningham.blogspot.com/2010/07/moon-hoax.html)
    Cheers..!

  12. Sadly, I’m not old enough to have seen the lunar landing live. Still, it’s amazing to look at the moon and think, “We’ve been there.”
    I did have the wonderful opportunity two years ago, to play a concert with Buzz Aldrin. Our symphony performed “The Planets” by Gustav Holst while Mr. Aldrin provided a narration about each planet. It was pretty cool, if I do say so myself.
    -short video from the performance
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oD7SokMiBso&feature=related

  13. I vividly remember watching it as it happened, mostly ‘cos my dad had all us kids convinced (we were so very gullible!) that he would have taken part in it but he preferred to spend his July 20th birthday with us ….

  14. I remember it vividly. Like others, it was my birthday, and like others, my Dad made sure all four of his young kids were awake for the historical event, even though it was pretty late for us, I was old enough to get the bid deal. Thanks, Dad.

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