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Jul 20, 2009

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Ed Chinn

I was 21 at the time and just completely transfixed by the very idea that men were walking on the moon. As I watched that very poor black and white transmission, I would have wet my pants before leaving the screen for a bathroom break.

But, the Christmas of 68 moon-circling trip is almost as vivid to me. 30 years later, I stepped onto a Washington DC elevator and ran right into Frank Borman. I blurted out, "Thank you for reading Genesis to the whole planet." He grabbed my hand and thanked me vigorously. It was a moving moment for me and, I think, for him.

Travis Greene

I was not alive for that, sadly. Although I did grow up in central Florida, and I fondly remember various trips to Kennedy Space Center to see moonrocks and such, as well as frequently watching (and hearing, thanks to the sonic booms) the shuttle take off.

Actually, one of my most vivid space-travel-related memories is from a few years ago, for the first launch after Columbia's disaster. It was a night launch. I went to college in Orlando, and it's only about an hour from there to the coast, so we drove to the beach to watch the launch. It was amazing. We were about 25 miles from the launch site, and it went from pitch black to bright as day for about a minute. As it lit up the ocean in a surreal, chemical light, suddenly we became aware how crowded the beach was. It was strange, beautiful, and communal.

An off-topic story, I know, but it was just so cool.

Dana Ames

I was 13. My family was on the way out the door to go to a church picnic and I begged for us to stay to watch this "first" on TV. So we did. It was momentous, and a bit surreal. I don't remember it being the only subject at the picnic, though...

Dana

Stan Ott

When Alan Shepard went into space with the Mercury program I was in Junior High - and have been a huge fan of NASA (fully aware of its upsides and downsides) ever since - following every launch - taping hours of reporting during those early years - which gave me my most vivid memory of Walter Cronkite. When I was at ROTC summer camp in college I happened to pull guard duty - which meant I wasn't in the barracks that had no television but in a guard shack with a TV that allowed me to watch Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon - an incredible moment for a manned spaceflight junkie and for our whole nation's spirit. While our time has its turbulence, the late 60's certainly did too and then some and the space program created a sense of achievement and adventure for all of us - and the by-products in technial advances have blessed us ever since - thanks for bringing attention to it - and thanks for your excellent blog! Stan

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