Most of us have vivid memories of where we were and what we were doing on certain key historic events.
On November 22, 1963, I was sitting in my 7th grade math class, the first class after lunch, thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday. Towards the beginning of class, the school’s PA system interrupted my math teacher Mr. Vaughn and announced that President John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The room went silent for several minutes until some of the girls began to cry.
On January 28, 1986, I was a meter reader for Salt River Project in the Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler metropolitan area. That day, I was receiving field training with an experienced meter reader by the name of George Santa Cruz. We just walked into an auto shop located on the street just west of Apache Greyhound Race Track. The mechanics were just standing their staring at a small portable TV. One of them pointed to the TV and that’s when George and I saw the replay of the explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle.
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On this day, July 20, 1969, I was at home with my parents and younger sister. I had just graduated from high school and managed to get the day off. My parents had a large black and white television with stereo speakers. I was on the floor with my mom’s seven-inch reel-to-reel tape recorder with a microphone in front of each of the TV speakers. We were all fixated on the TV as we watched the live coverage of the Apollo 11 lunar landing module descend onto the surface of the moon.
I remember hearing Neil Armstrong radio:
“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
I turned to my parents and my mom had tears trailing down her cheeks. We continued to watch until later that night, the hatch on the landing module opened and Armstrong stepped out and began to climb down the ladder. After actually stepping down onto the surface of the moon, I still remember hearing Armstrong’s famous words:
“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” (Audio here)
On this day, July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. A few moments after Armstrong stepped on the moon, Buzz Aldrin climbed down the ladder and joined him on the moon.
Where were you on this historic day? What were you doing? It’s a day I’ll never forget.