Local residents remember Apollo 11 landing

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Montgomery, AL (WSFA) - Monday marked exactly 40 years since man first stepped foot on the Moon.

As the nation celebrated that anniversary, residents in the river region look back on those historic moments and wonder if the program will ever reach new heights.

With Neil Armstrong's famous words, "One giant step for man, one a giant leap for mankind," history was made.

He became the first man to ever step foot on the Moon, sharing his achievement with millions huddled around their televisions.

And for those alive to see it happen, most still remember exactly where they were.

Ethel Norman of Montgomery says she was in New York visiting her Aunt.  She says she remembers hollering at the television, thinking the landing was unbelievable.

Sarah Fain of Montgomery says she was sitting in her den with her children, anxiously waiting to see if it would land.

And Will Eppes says he was working on an audit for an engineering business in Mobile, Alabama, and it came on TV that Neil Armstrong was walking on the Moon.  He says he and his co-workers were ecstatic.

Proof that the memories are still crystal clear for those who lived through it.

Apollo 11 landed the first men on the Moon, and three years later, Apollo 17 landed the last.

Funding for the once ambitious space program has slipped, though President Obama is considering more funding.

But some are skeptical about the timing.

Will Eppes says he thinks we should just wait until we have more money to be able to pay for that type of thing.

But others, like Ethel Norman, say the legacy must carry on.

As NASA plans for another trip to the moon, Apollo 11 crew members urge the President to set his sights further -- a manned mission to Mars.

Buzz Aldrin, a crew member of Apollo 11 says, "To me, exploration is going to some place you haven't been before."

And Eugene Cernan, an astronaut for Apollo 10 and 17 says agrees.

He says, "We can recapture that kind of spirit in America.  We can recapture the spirit of the space program.  The ultimate goal, truly, is to go to Mars."

Investing in the future, won't be cheap, though.  It would cost $150 billion dollars in today's money to send man to the Moon.

A trip to Mars would come with a much higher price tag.