Where were you when the Eagle landed?
“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke those historic words 50 years ago, after he descended the Lunar Module ladder and stepped on the surface of the moon. Since Saturday, July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, The Times toured around the island interviewing people on the street to get their reactions and experiences regarding the momentous event.
“I was in Times Square,” said Bruce Osolin, from Goshen, Conn. “Me and my three friends watched. I’ll never forget it — watching him walk down the ladder, and put his feet on the moon.” Goshen added: “Those guys had a lot of courage.”
Goshen said he saw the story about the women who handmade the astronauts’ space suits. The suits were made by the International Latex Corporation, or Playtex, which makes girdles and bras. “They sewed 21 layers of fabric together for them,” he said. “And that’s also when we started advancing our computer technology. It was something, that whole thing.”
Dolores Aldrich, from New York, summed things up with one word: “Fantastic. It was unbelievable to think that man had achieved such a fantastic journey. You wonder about the type of courage it took for these men and women, who were all involved, to accomplish a project like that. There is always the unknown” in an endeavor like that.
“The saying, ‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,’ only the world can understand that,” she said. “That working together we can achieve such heights.”
Jack from Levittown, Pennsylvania, said, “I was in Vietnam, fighting in the war. So, at the time, I didn’t give it much thought. We heard about it, but were busy with the war.” He paused for a moment, and then added: “That we accomplished it was a pretty good feeling.”
Roger Kenyon was also in the army at the time, but recalls that the moon landing was on everyone’s mind. “I was in the army in Germany, and my landlord came upstairs and said, ‘You should see this.’ We watched on television. I was amazed.” Kenyon said he felt like he was sort of “out of the loop while serving in the military. So much so that we didn’t even know they were on the moon.”
“I remember it very clearly,” said John Rayner, who owns a home on Block Island, but resides in Westmont, New Jersey. “I was working at the Harbor House Motel and Marina in Ocean City, New Jersey at the time. We went into Mr. Blackman’s apartment, which was off of the office, and watched it on television. Most people, I think, assumed it was going to work. I didn’t think about the fear of it. It was exciting.”
Steve from Connecticut said he “was in Tokyo on a business trip. I saw it on television, and was in awe. And I think the rest of the world was in awe. It was a very special time.”
“I was home watching with my parents,” said Richie Berlinghof from New York. “We were watching with anticipation, and praying, praying that they make it. It was just amazing.” Berlinghof said his friends worked at Grumman, the company that designed and built the Apollo Lunar Module that landed on the moon. “They were ecstatic,” he said. “It worked.”
New Shoreham First Warden Ken Lacoste said he remembered it “like it was yesterday. I remember it well. I was 13 years old, laying on the floor in our TV room, watching in amazement. It was very emotional. It’s probably the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”