Pike County residents remember watching moon landing

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 19, 2019

The non-stop media coverage has begun and will reach a peak on Saturday, July 20, 2019, when America officially celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Luna Landing and man’s first steps on the moon.

Perhaps, July 20, 1969, is not a day when most people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when America “put” a man on the moon. But all red-blooded Americans are familiar with the words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Those are the words spoken by astronaut Neal Armstrong when he took man’s first step on the moon and they are engrained in the minds of most all Americans. But, 50 years was a long time ago, so memories of that moment in time can, understandably, be a little hazy.

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Linda Walls Faust had just turned 13 years old when Neil Armstrong put man’s first footprint on the moon.

“I was a teenager so I don’t remember caring a lot about going to the moon,” Faust said, laughing. “But, back then, we didn’t have all the news media coverage we have now or social media. If you didn’t hear about something on NBC you probably didn’t hear about it. But putting a man on the moon was big news and a lot of people were talking about it. I do remember that many people thought it was not true, that it was all made up.”

As a young mother of five, Wiley White, laughingly, said she was probably home ironing clothes while the lunar module land on the moon.

“I remember being excited and, like a lot of people, I was scared, too,” she said. We didn’t know what would happen when the module landed. It might sink into oceans of dust. We prayed that the astronauts would be safe. When Neal Armstrong stepped off the ladder and onto the surface of the moon, it such a relief and so exciting that man had walked on the moon. Those were brave men. Men like that don’t come around often. That was a very exciting time and a proud time for our country.”

Bobby Bray said he watched the moon landing with some assurance that it was really taking place while his wife thought they just “flew over hill and came back.”

“Back then, you really didn’t know what to believe. The moon was a long way off and, it still is,” he said. “But today, it might not take as long to get there. But I remember thinking it was a great accomplishment for our country to be able to do something like that.”

For Teresa Colvin’s family July 20, 1969 was an especially exciting time. Not only were they anticipating the USA putting a man on the moon, they were going to see it on color TV.

“My parents had bought our first color television and all of the kids in the neighborhood came to watch a man walk on the moon …in color!” Colvin said. “We were all stretched out on the floor to watch but, when it came on our color TV, it was in black and white. We were so disappointed. But it was still so exciting to see what the moon looked like and to think that men were up there.”

Colvin said some people thought that the moon landing was staged, that it didn’t happen. “But for, us to be the first country to send a man to the moon, made us even prouder to be Americans.”

Carter Sanders was an early teen and he remembers the excitement of going to a relative’s house to watch the lunar landing

“What was so exciting was that they had a color TV,” he said and added laughing that he didn’t say they watched a man walk on the moon in color, just that the relatives had a color TV.”

“The Jetsons had set us up for space travel so going to the moon was a big thing,” Sanders said. “The United States was in a space race with the Russians and they had beaten us into space. But, we beat them to the moon and we had won the race.”