By Nancy Wilkerson
When monumental events occur, and if you’re of an age to remember them, you remember where you were, what you were doing, and why you remember. That’s the case of the landing a man on the moon for the first time on July 20, 1969 when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made this historic trip that captivated us all.
Jim and I were living in Austin at this time. We invited our U.T.-Austin friends over to watch this historic event on our black and white television and have “moon” burgers and “moon” cookies for dinner as 10-month-old son Lance climbed in and out of his “moon” wagon, an orange, round wagon given to him from his grandmother Mary Wilkerson.
Growing up during the time when the Russians had already launched Sputnik in 1957 and the Space Race was underway, and the U.S. was nervous about a nuclear war, we as, I think, 7th graders, went through drills at school where we were told to crawl under our desks, as if that was going to save us from a nuclear explosion! Most of all, after President John F. Kennedy set the goal of the U.S. sending the first humans to the moon, we all got into a competitive spirit of wanting to beat the Russians. And we did!
So, on July 20, 1969, as we young couples sat anticipating this historic event, it was a relief when we saw the Eagle had safely landed. Astronaut Armstrong was the first to step out of the lunar module on to the moon’s surface. He said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed. Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
(If any of our readers have stories to share regarding the Moon landing, we would be pleased to share them through the Comanche Chief.)