Were you alive July 20th 1969?


I had graduated from Junior High a month earlier and we were all  wondering what High School would bring into our lives.  Losing Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Junior had somewhat rocked our cloistered suburban lives.  Every night the news brought the Vietnam War into our homes.  Older brothers were being drafted and fear seemed to grip the country.


In school that year I had learned what ‘ethnocentric’ meant.  I didn’t want to be that way but it was just so hard for me to imagine people living a life on the other side of the world and our soldiers fighting there.  So, pretty much most of us just went on our own merry way, planning vacations and what our new outfit for the first day of school would look like.


July 20th, 1969 was going to be a special night for my sisters and I because my mom was letting us have two friends each over night for the lunar landing.  My parents were really into the space race and insisted that we always get up early and watch the launches.  My dad was in California visiting my grandma for her 75th birthday and I guess my mom thought that while the cat was away, the mice could play (my dad never let anyone sleep over unless we were in a tent outside). 


We were ready with snacks- popcorn, punks and Tang (after all, that is what the astronauts drank). Outside, all of the girls gazed at the moon imagining that we saw the lunar module near it.  We bounded into the basement and watched the landing on our new color TV.  Amazing…  Americans were walking on the moon.  I really missed my dad in that moment.  That night he was camping in the mountains with my two uncles and my aunt.  California seemed as far away as the moon to me.  It still feels so strange that we both could witness the same event across the country from one another.  Then it dawned on me that other people all over our world could see the same moon, and most likely felt the same awe in that very same moment.  I can now say it was the beginning of me trying to understand that across the world, people are more alike than different. 

At school last week, I read One Giant Leap (Burleigh) to my kids at school as an example of the new ‘nonfiction’.  it oozes with voice.  Near the end of the book…

“but mostly their eyes are fixed on another place; Blue, white, light brown and shining below them.  They want that now. More than anything.  A planet of oceans and rivers. Of grass and green hills.  A world of trees and family and friends.  A place called Earth:  fragile, beautiful, home. ” 

And I think that it is a perfect ending!  Thank you Franki for being one of your books that you could read a million times and sharing on your blog. 


 My cousin sent me these pictures I love them !  This is my dad, aunt and two uncles on their camping trip, July 20, 1969!  My dad is the cute one with glasses.  The second picture is of the moon… taken at that very moment of the Lunar Landing.
That’s one small step for a man-one giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong




About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

4 responses »

  1. Such a vivid memory! I know I watched this event but the place and people are not in my memory bank. That makes me kind of sad, because that what a huge event. I love the pictures at the end.

  2. I loved your memory of this event and I’m sure your students did, too. We just finished studying astronomy and the closest I could get was telling my students that my mom remembers watching the landing while she was pregnant with me. 🙂 And I think I’ll just have to look for this book. Thanks for being the next to pass the recommendation along.

  3. Wow, what a beautiful description of that historic event. I’m always dazzled when I imagine what it would have been like to be alive during the space race. (I enjoy my mom’s stories about watching the launches at her elementary school.) I loved how you connected your personal memories to the book. Most of all, I love the fact that the moon picture was taken at the moment of the moon landing — incredibly powerful and so representative of your statement about everyone seeing the same moon.

    You might enjoy my recent post on John Glenn’s Friendship 7 50th anniversary: http://ihabloespanglish.blogspot.com/2012/02/one-enchanted-evening.html

  4. Pingback: Editing…”there is work to be done” « Two years and finishing strong…

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