Nation celebrates anniversary of 1st lunar footsteps

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A moonstruck nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first footsteps on another world Saturday, gathering in record heat at races and other festivities to commemorate Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s “giant leap.”

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, cars were backed up for miles outside the visitor complex at opening time. In Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, nearly 2,000 runners competed in “Run to the Moon” races.

“We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of perhaps the most historic event in my lifetime, maybe in anybody’s lifetime, the landing on the moon,” said 10K runner Robert Rocco, 54, of Centerville, Ohio. “The ’60s were very turbulent. But that one bright wonderful moment was the space program.”

The Eagle lunar lander, carrying Armstrong and Aldrin, landed on the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969. Armstrong was the first one out, proclaiming for the ages: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

COMMENTS