I was on summer vacation from a British university looking after a bunk of 10 year olds at a summer camp (I read them Bradbury at bedtime :). The whole camp stayed up until 4am EST watching the landing. Absolutely unforgettable, that summer of '69. RIP Neil Armstrong.
For so many people my age, and I am one, the moon landing was the first thing we can remember watching on television. We lived in Uganda then and didn't have a television so went round to a friend's house in the middle of the night to watch it. The memory has never left me. The world changed that night.
...and it was never 'just a job' like the song portrays. One of the outstanding impressions of that select group of people is of their drive, daring and determination in opening up whole realms of science and technological achievement, perhaps the ultimate expression of the society that created the environment where such progress can occur.
While I'm here, I'll second the recommendation of the recent CPA interview with Armstrong at http://thebottomline.cpaaustralia.com.au/ to add to your memory of the man.
Neil Armstrong was a truly remarkable individual. He will be remembered of course as the first person to walk on the Moon, but clearly his life was much fuller and richer than just this one accomplishment.
To remember Neil Armstrong and all the engineers of Apollo, we are preparing a a slideshow for later this week that will serve as a kind of reprise of our 2009 Apollo digital edition. That edition marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Below is a link to the Apollo digital edition:
Fabulous tribute, George. (And BTW, a great lead on that 2000 story!). Armstrong shares with most engineers what really is a key to success: a humility. The problems and challenges are always there, always bigger than we are, and we can only hope to string together a series of successes in a lifelong effort at technological improvement.
In 1969, my parents called me inside from whatever diversion I was doing outside. We sat on the couch and stared at our black-and-white Magnavox as Armstrong descended to the moon. Today, we're about to launch the era of private space flight and exploration, which we can watch live on our cellphones.
Here's to Armstrong and an army of engineers who keep pushing the rock downfield.