NEIL Armstrong stepping onto the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969 remains one of the most iconic images of history. As he set his foot on the moon’s surface he announced, “One giant step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
Apollo 11 was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on July 16 and put Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon four days later in front of a live world-wide TV audience of 530 million viewers. The third astronaut Michael Collins, remained in the Command Module with the “loneliest job ever” facing the prospect of returning alone if his comrades failed to make it back safely. Thankfully all three returned to earth to tell their incredible story.
From New York to LA, Moscow to Melbourne the world was transfixed. On the street of Omagh this week the memories flooded back for locals of a particular vintage. All agreed that it was an incredible achievement and few believe the conspiracy theorists who claim it was all an American PR hoax that didn’t really happen.
Eileen Madden recalled the ‘Apollo’ space stickers in the cornflake boxes at that time.
She explained, “We got stickers off the Kelloggs’ Cornflakes about men landing on the moon. I gave them away a few years ago to a friend who has a great interest in space travel. They might be worth something!
“I remember listening to the moon landing on the radio. It was amazing, something you wouldn’t have dreamt could happen. I remember myself and my mother and father were in awe of what happened.”
Fred Pauley had double reason to remember such an incredible week as his son was born on July 18, two days before the moon landing.
“It was unbelievable and everyone was talking about it. No-one argued about whether it was real or not. We accepted it. Even today it is massive,” he said.
“If a bus was going to the moon tomorrow, I’d be happy to stay here!” he added, “We can’t even run the earth properly so it’s best we leave the moon alone.”
John Coyle remembers the disappointment in his cousin’s house in Park in Co Derry when the television broke down as they were all set to watch the moon landing. However it has not diminished his awe of the historic day.
“It was the greatest thing and technology was so less advanced than today. I am still in awe of it. I have seen it questioned since but I believe it.”
Holding up his iPhone, John added, “There is more technology in that phone than put those men on the moon. It was incredible. The image they took of the earth rising is one of the most touching things I have ever seen. We take so much for granted. I still feel emotional when I see it.”
Michael Cooney too remembers watching the event “enthralled” however he is not sure it was worth the incredible cost, the equivalent of $800 billion today.
“I thought it was fantastic” said Michael. “However it was very expensive and the money could have been put to better use. What did it do for us all? I have never doubted it happened.
“Conspiracy theorists doubt everything. Man walking on the moon was incredible.”
Posted: 10:00 pm July 21, 2019