I remember so much of this time. I was nine years old and my little world at that time was all about the space program. I remember watching, on Christmas Eve, the live broadcast from Apollo 8 from the moons orbit. I saved, and still have, all the newspaper clippings and magazines from that time of the moon walk.
All the books I read and all the book reports for school were about Apollo 11. My parents help me write to NASA many times asking for pictures or anything about the Apollo program, and I was sent many packets through the years with astronaut photos, mission reports, and various items.
I was living in California at the time, and I remember watching Walter Cronkite on TV and my parents had some friends over outside in the evening. When the time came for them to exit the LM, I was frantic that they were all outside and "missing it." I probably yelled at them to come inside and watch. Seeing the grainy images was incredible, it seems like at first they were upside down too. Even though you really couldn't see Neil Armstrong take the first step, it was just overwhelming to think about what was happening. I thought it was funny when Edwin Aldrin came down later, that he was able to make a joke about "not locking the hatch on the way down." I stayed up all night watching as much as was broadcast.
When my dad brought home a Look magazine, and then a Life magazine a month or so later with the actual pictures from the moon - I could hardly believe it. All we had were those fuzzy black-and-white images, and to see clear, color photos of all that occurred - I could barely contain myself in excitement. I had a mom who encouraged my love for science and the space program, and she let me watch each lift off and splash down off all the Apollo flights even if it meant staying up late or going to school a little late.
Like many other young boys at the time, I too wanted to work for NASA and be an astronaut. I didn't make it, because by the time I was in high school I was already too tall for the minimum height requirements for the program. I did turn my love of space into something closer to earth and ended up studying meteorology, graduated from the U with a degree in it, and have worked in the Salt Lake TV market as a meteorologist (just not on-air) for nearly 35 years. I do not share of the opinions of the times back in the 60s or even today of some who say it was a waste of money and it could have been spent somewhere else. I believe the basic need for man/woman to explore if part of who we are. I look forward to future space programs and more exploration of our galactic neighbors.