Lunar photo

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, the first time humans walked on the lunar service.

As part of a three-day series on the landing, we asked Source readers to share their memories of that day -- July 20, 1969. Here are those thoughts:

Lori Feeney of Mansfield said she was only 4 years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. She recalls:

"The actual first “space” thing I really remember is Apollo 8, but that’s only because my little brother was born that Christmas Eve when they were orbiting. I remember my Dad let me watch it since Mom was in the hospital having a baby. Then I woke up while he was “helping Santa” put together a play kitchen for my Christmas present!

"Anyway, Apollo 11 was big. I remember my mom and dad waking me up and letting me watch the first steps. I remember that I was looking in the wrong area of the super, grainy black and white picture on the TV. When I saw Armstrong begin to move down the ladder, I had to adjust my attention. I remember being excited, but that must have been just the vibes off my parents, because I was too young to really understand." 

"I’ve loved the space program and followed space exploration since then. It was just the time I grew up in. I even had a model of the lunar lander and the lunar rover. Such a space nerd!"


Eric Witchey, a graduate of Shelby High School, now lives in Salem, Oregon. He remembers:

"I was 11. My brother was 13. The whole family was in the living room watching on TV in Shelby. It was a big moment in my family. My brother grew up to be a fighter pilot and test pilot for NASA. When he died, a number of his astronaut friends flew in to attend the funeral. I grew up to be a writer, and I've sold a number of science fiction tales inspired by the spirit of exploration those guys live every day. The space program has always been a part of our lives."


Jackie Schuster of Mansfield remembers:

"(It was) the day before my birthday. I was recovering from knee surgery and was also expecting my fourth child. I was glued to the TV like everybody else."


Jane Imbody of Mansfield said she was 9 years old and in a Marion hospital getting her tonsils and adenoids removed. She remembers:

"I can remember watching parts of the coverage on the TV in my hospital room, although some details are fuzzy. I think the actual moon landing happened on the day I entered the hospital and my surgery was early the next day.

"I didn’t see much more of the coverage in part because, during the surgery, I started to come out of the anesthetic (I actually remember that and my aunt, who was a nurse in the operating room, later confirmed it!).

"Because they had to give me additional sedation, I didn’t bounce back from the surgery as quickly as two other girls my age who were also in the hospital for a tonsillectomy. I still remember briefly waking up in my hospital room after the surgery (which would have been July 21) and seeing the two girls and their parents at the end of the bed looking at me!

"So I guess, for me, any mention of the moon landing is a reminder of my hospital stay! Also, July 21 was my parents’ 24th wedding anniversary."


Brenda Jarrell of Mansfield was enjoying her summer vacation from school. She recalls:

"I was not working. I wasn’t 16 yet, and most businesses still were not open on Sundays to allow for church and family!

"Usually, we went to Middle Park each Sunday for “big” family picnics, home cooking, games of kick ball and baseball, oh, and red rover! (Middle Park (which was what I always knew it to be called, stretched between North Lake Park and South Park.) That was usually what we did!

"However, on this Sunday, we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s as watched the landing on television. Still great home cooking was served and of course, apple and cherry pies and watermelon! Good thing it was a big house!"


Via Instagram, Richard Wiehe recalls where he was on July 20, 1969:

"I was in the back of my parents' car with my brother and sister in Sandusky. They stopped at a cemetery and we listened to it on the radio."


Gale Armstrong was a little busy helping others in July 1969:

"At the time I thought I was as far away as Neil (Armstrong). I was in Vietnam, working in surgery. I felt proud of our country. It was a troubling time for the world and this brought a little good to the world."


Jessica Faulkner of Mansfield was 9 years old when man landed on the moon. She recalls:

"Although my great grandmother's death did not equate to the first landing on the moon, the association of both events have been something I will never forget.

"We actually took off on July 19 to settle in a small motel near the family farm in Hart, Mich. Although my dad's new Dodge Dart had buttons on the front of the dash that put the car into the desired gear, it still was a time when air conditioning in cars was not a standard feature, and because of that, the approaching smells of Lake Michigan came upon us rather quickly.

TV moon landing

People were around the world were glued to TV screens when Apollo 11 astronauts were busy on the surface of the moon in July 1969. Richland Source members shared their memories of that time.

"After we settled into our motel room, we made the journey to visit my grandmother in the parlor of the farmhouse where family wakes were commonplace. Again, air conditioning was non existent, so the flies were a plenty from people coming and going into the house to pay their respects. The sound of the screen door slamming was very irritating to me and, along with elderly people exclaiming how much we had grown, I just wanted to be anyplace but there.

"The next day, after sleeping as comfortably as possible in our motel room, we attended her funeral, ate a celebration of life lunch which actually became an evening meal.

"Finally saying our final good-byes, we headed back to the motel to spend yet one more night as it was getting too late to drive back to Mansfield with three young kids fighting in the back seat, more likely than not.

"The main reason we stayed though was that the first lunar landing was about to happen anytime and my parents didn't want us to miss the event. They were concerned that if we had driven back home, we would have missed it altogether.

"What made it fathomable for us to stay abreast of the event was that the motel room had a small black and white TV that worked by placing coins in the top attached box that kept the broadcast coming.

"Finally, about 4 p.m. or so, a special report showed on the screen reporting that the manned rocket ship had landed on the moon. I remember how excited we were and just couldn't believe that it was happening in front of our very eyes. The resolution of the video was nothing like it is today but back then, the fact that video coverage at that distance was even possible was sufficient. Live TV was very much high tech to us all in the nation. Of course,  just six years before, the assassination of JFK brought live coverage to the nation.

"When we went home the next day, the daily newspaper was lying on the front porch and we could hardly wait to open it up to view the first still life pics of the landing. I believe my parents went down to the newspaper office to buy a few extra copies; where they are now is a mystery. Pictures aside, my mind's eye will always remember the details as if it were yesterday.

"Fast forward 18 years and my first child was born on July 20, 1987, at 9:10 p.m. Pretty darn close to the first landing on the moon. Strangely enough, in 1969, we were mourning the loss of our great-grandmother and in 1987, we were celebrating the birth of her great-great-grandaugther."

"Looking back, I feel sad that my great grandmother died only two days before the moon landing. Being the good woman she was, however, I am sure she saw it from above; a front row seat for sure."


Lori Collins was in the ninth grade when the moon landing occurred. She recalls:

"In July of 1969, I was on a family vacation with my parents and one of my friends. I was in ninth grade at the time. Our destination was St. Pete's Beach in Florida.

"Even though we were staying at St. Pete's Beach, we took several sight-seeing day trips. One of those day trips was to Kennedy Space Center, the week before the moon-landing space launch. I was fascinated with the Space Center and remember the Vehicle Assembly Building was so tall our guide told us that clouds often formed in the top of it. I also remember there were areas of the Space Center that were blocked off to the public because of the upcoming space launch.

"On July 20, we were back at our hotel on the beach. My friend and I were swimming in the ocean when my parents called us in to watch the landing. We gathered around the small TV in our hotel room to watch.

"It meant so much more to me to have seen where the astronauts were launched into space and it helped me to understand the importance of the space program at that time."


Judy Moffett was a senior nursing student at The Ohio State University, working in the cardiac care unit on the night of July 20. She recalls:

"I was about to graduate and get married in September. The big question was whether we should let the patients who wanted to watch the landing and moon walk. The unit at that time was one large room with probably eight beds. So if TVs were on, all would be aware.

"The concern was, what if it ended disastrously and upset these heart patients, even causing major problems. I don't recall who decided, but TVs were on.

"Nurses, of course, needed to do our routine work, but watched when we could. I remember how quiet it was, especially as Armstrong descended those steps, and the fuzzy black-and-white picture. Patients who were awake and watching showed no adverse effects and I was proud and glad to have been able to see it. Still amazed we did it!"


Belinda Etzel doesn't "remember" the moon landing, but she does recall the excitement around it:

"It’s more a fun memory. My father was in the Navy and out on a ship. My mom came home to have a baby. Me! She was in labor and my grandfather wanted to go to the hospital ...  mom wouldn’t have it! She had to see the men land on the moon! Needless to say, she saw it, and made it to hospital! I was born in the early morning of July 21.  So I guess, I was wanting out to see it too!"


Tom McNaull of Ashland was an engineering student at The Ohio State University in Columbus and had a rented a room in a fraternity house. He recalls:

"About 20 of us huddled around a small color TV that had a weak, marginal picture and poor sound. We watched CBS’s Walter Cronkite and Mercury astronaut Wally Schirra as they covered the landing.

"I had followed the Apollo program and generally knew what to expect on the landing. I became very concerned when the 1201/1202 alarms kept popping up and expected an abort if they continued.

Mission Control’s calm, confident, “We’re ‘go’ on that alarm” did little to lessen my fears. My concerns were further increased when Armstrong took full manual control and flew horizontally searching for an open area to land - all while wrestling with the diminishing fuel supply. Time seemed to nearly stop in those final seconds before the touchdown.

"The actual landing prompted two distinctly different reactions from members of the group. Some wildly cheered and hollered; others, including myself, just sat there in absolute stunned silence. I did not measure my pulse, but I clearly remember my heart strongly beating at greatly elevated rate."


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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"