July 20th will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. As Armstrong took his first step on the moon and said the words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” those who watched remember where they were on that historic day.
In July1969, Chris Curth had recently graduated from Dykes High School in Buckhead (now Sutton Middle School).
“My mother and my sisters and I were glued to the TV during the entire Apollo 11 Mission. I can remember us popping corn. At this time my father was living in Sydney, Australia, writing books, but he was very interested in the space program.”
Chris’ dad, Hank Curth, worked at NBC reporting on the Mercury missions beginning in 1962.
“Dad reported periodically on NBC Monitor weekend reports with Frank McGee on stories related to the space program.”
Jim Feldman was a teenager at a summer camp in Switzerland when the Apollo 11 moon landing took place.
“It was evening time as many people gathered to watch the event in a big room on TV,” he said. “The commentators were speaking in German. Fortunately, during the final few minutes they said they would stop speaking so we could listen to the astronauts speaking. This was good for all the English speakers in the room!”
In 1969, Susan and Paul Player had only been in Dunwoody one year. Paul served as president of the Dunwoody Homeowner’s Association in 1996. Most people watched the Apollo 11 moon landing at home or on a television wherever they happened to be that July 20th. Susan Player happened to be at the Cherokee Country Club swimming pool with her two young children. A small black and white television was set up poolside for the children to watch the big event.
Suzanne Huff was 7 years old in 1969, living in Texas with her family.
“That summer we took a family vacation to Florida (drove from Dallas, Texas, along the Gulf Coast to Cape Canaveral) to see Apollo 11 on the launch pad,” Suzanne recalls.
She remembers being back home when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and when Neil Armstrong took the first step. They snapped a photo of their television to remember the day.
“The family was crowded around the TV to catch a glimpse to witness the historic moment,” she said.
Glen Kundert was in Honolulu in July of 1969. His father was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, and Glen had just graduated high school. His summer job before going off to college was at the base gas station.
“When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, we watched it huddled around a tiny black and white TV in the manager’s office,” Glen said. “Later, I got to actually see the crew of Apollo 11 as they came down the main road at Hickam in their Airstream quarantine trailer on the way to an airplane that would fly them to Houston. I remember waving to them — and they did likewise — it is one of the most lasting memories of my life.”
If you happened to be at the Atlanta Braves versus San Diego Padres baseball game in Atlanta that day, the game halted at 4:17 p.m. for a moment of silent prayer for the astronauts. Then, “God Bless America” was performed by organist Bob Fountain. (Atlanta Constitution, July 21, 1969, Game Halted to Observe Moon Landing)