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At our July all-staff meeting Patrick Curran began with the question: Where were you on July 20, 1969 when man first stepped on the moon?

I was 15 years old and doing volunteer work at a local nursing home. I was in the room of one of my favorite patients, a sweet woman with Parkinson’s Disease. She had a portable TV in her room, and the live coverage was happening at that moment. I remember us both stopping what we were doing and being glued to the TV as we watched that first step taken on the moon. To me, it was just so cool to see what the moon looked like, and I was in awe that we could actually be seeing this happening on TV. When I turned around to my patient, she had tears rolling down her cheeks. She was not able to verbalize because of her disease, but it was obvious that moment was very meaningful to her. To think of all the progress she had witnessed in her lifetime just blows me away to this day.

The one and only time my family went on an extended camping trip happened to be the two weeks that included the moon landing. We were at a campground somewhere on the Oregon Coast, and my brother, being a bit older and bolder than I, managed to locate an older couple with a trailer who had a small TV, and talked them into letting us kids crowd in and watch the moonwalk. The TV was tiny, and the reception was horrible, but we could sort of make out what was happening.

After spending 21 hours and 36 minutes upon the moon (including 2 hours and 31 minutes of outside exploration), it was time for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to leave. To lighten their load, the two men threw out some excess materials like backpacks, moon boots, urine bags, and a camera. These fell to the moon's surface and were to remain there. Also left behind was a plaque which read, "Here men from the planet earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

Dad made sure the antenna atop the house was adjusted just so in preparation for the event. Everyone in our home gathered – young and old – to watch Walter Cronkite’s coverage of this momentous event in front of the only TV in the house – the Magnavox console with built-in stereo sound. We watched intently as our fellow Buckeye, Neil Armstrong, guided the ship to the moon landing and took the first human footsteps on the moon’s surface. 

As an 8-year-old, I imagined what the lack of earth’s gravity might feel like and whether a normal earth step not taken with this environment in mind might send Mr. Armstrong floating uncontrollably off into space. 

It felt like we had all done this together, and I think that is what remains relevant in reminiscence: A country deeply divided on so many social and political levels came together, if only in spirit, to accomplish this almost magical, wonderful moment. The feeling of “WE” was all-consuming if only for a brief snapshot in time. I thought anything possible. 

My family was driving back from a day at the lake. We got stuck in traffic on I-75 outside Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, where the Braves were playing the Padres. When it was announced on the radio that the Eagle had landed, we could hear the cheering in our car coming from the stadium. Later that night, my family watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. It was made extra special as we watched it on our family’s first color TV set!

When Patrick mentioned the moonwalk at the all-staff, I realized that I am ‘longer-in-the-tooth’ than many of my wonderful work colleagues here. I remember the event perfectly: my dad, who hated TV and refused to get one until well after every other kid that we knew, finally bought a little black-and-white one that he allowed to be put on the dining room table so the whole family could watch it. Despite hating TV, he did have a great sense of history.

"I guess we all like to be recognized not for one piece of fireworks but for the ledger of our daily work." - Neil Armstrong

I remember very well where I was and what I was doing the day Eagle landed on the moon.

My mother was from the Gulf Coast and, living north of Redding, California, the family would make the trip back to Alabama every couple of years for vacation. We all enjoyed the road trip so, as I got older, we would take various scenic routes and detours on the way back west and not just limit ourselves to the shortest routes and freeways we’d have taken at the start of our trips.

In 1969, we were driving north into South Dakota on Highway 37, planning to turn west at Mitchell so we could see the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore.

Mostly what I knew about Mitchell was—and frankly, still is— that it’s the home of the Most Famous Corn Palace on Earth or Moon.

We stopped there for the night, and watched the moon landing on the motel’s black and white TV, with several ghosts, that was barely twice the size of the iPad I carry now. I remember being rather bored with the whole thing, because those first hours, all they showed was a static shot of the Lunar Lander strut, with sound direct from Mission Control, Very dry, technical talk intended to get the astronauts onto the surface and back alive, rather than to entertain an audience. (What were they thinking?)

I probably would have preferred to go see the Corn Palace, but, alas, that’s still on my Bucket List.

Where it’s likely to remain.

I know, I know. All of you who have tickets to the Corn Palace Polka Festival in September are going to try to make me jealous.

I was 9 years old, attending a family reunion at a lakefront home at Lake Oswego on a sunny summer afternoon. After swimming and lunch, all of us cousins sat cross-legged on the living room floor, mesmerized by Neil Armstrong’s bouncy, half-floating walk on the black-and-white TV screen. The picture was grainy but the fact that he was walking on the actual moon, so many miles away in space, seemed nearly inconceivable to all of us. My innocent childish belief from that day was that the U.S. was the best country in the world. As a more world-weary adult years later, I’m not sure I always feel that way.

I also remember my 13-year-old cousin Judy from Chicago scandalized the adults by asking for an adult beverage by name at the drinks table (a screwdriver!). My mother talked about it for days and I felt worldly having been in my city cousin’s presence. It made a big impression that has lasted all these years.

I can’t recall where I was on the day that man first stepped on the moon. In July 1969 I was raising two baby girls and the daily events outside my world remain a blur. But I do remember sitting in the kitchen of my Mom and Dad’s house watching so many events of the 60s, 70s and 80s, and that was likely one of them. So many of life’s important moments happened in my Mom’s kitchen. When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon and spoke the words: “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” it was a joyous and amazing event, and we needed joy in the late 60s. We still do.

I was sitting in my grandmother’s house – Nana, we called her – in North Portland, watching it on her black and white TV. The irony that they were exploring outer space and I was sitting in a room in which every adult was smoking enough to create man-made fog only came to me years later.