On July 20, it will be 50 years since man first walked on the moon. Wellington residents and a former resident recalled what they were doing when they saw, from the television screens, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin make the first lunar landing.
The moon landing happened exactly on Sharon Zoglman’s 10th birthday, and she saw the rocket, Apollo 11, launch from Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Her family had come from their home in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio to watch the launch.
“A neighbor of ours worked for the NASA Lewis Research Center, and he had my 10-year-old self convinced that he arranged the take off just for me,” Zoglman said in a phone text.
Later, the family watched the moon landing on television at the home of her aunt, who lived in Florida.
Wendell Skinner, pastor of Church Ignited, 715 N. Woodlawn, was in the Air Force in the pilot training program stationed at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi and was newly married when he sat with six or eight other people, watching the moon landing on a black and white TV.
“It was exciting,” Skinner said. “There was never anything like it.”
Skinner hoped NASA would continue making space explorations.
“I was going to be the first chaplain on Mars,” he said. “Mars was my long-term goal. The moon was my short-term goal.”
David Ammann said he was a teenager, hanging out with friends and listening on a car radio, at a small church in San Diego, California.
“We were just ecstatic,” he said. “The country was able to come together and pulled their resources, the physicists and the engineers.”
It was “incredible” that the country was able to make the moon landing, he said. “Computers were just coming into their own,” Ammann said. “Now we could go to the moon.”
“It was definitely a unifying moment because of the turmoil that was in the country because of the Vietnam War. The young people were rebelling against the establishment.”
Kathi Shore Fisk had just graduated from high school a few months earlier and she watched the moon landing on a black and white TV with her future husband in the basement of her parents’ house.
“My dad told me there were more changes during his lifetime than at any other time in history,” Fisk said. “He thought it was astounding.”
Fisk, who now lives in Dallas, Georgia, thought the U.S. was going to do more space exploration and the world would look more like a science fiction movie by now.
Recently, she was with her family at NASA Space Center at Huntsville, Alabama. Her 7-year-old grandson especially liked the visit.
“He wants to be an astronaut when he grows up,” she said.