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Mokie's Den

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20 July 1969



It's hard to believe it has been 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin first landed on the Moon.  In the summer of 1969, I was an 11-year-old living in Mt Lebanon, PA and feeling the excitement of the impending Moon landing.  Back then, the Space Program was a really big deal and dominated all 4 TV channels, Mad Magazine, and of course our two daily newspapers.  There was no internet, there was no social media, or YouTube, or all the other things we expect in our daily lives today.  But the entire world was waiting with bated breath for the moment when the Lunar Module made its landing. 

That night, a Sunday, I had been invited to a sleepover at my friend Ralph's home.  His Mom knew I had a telescope, a very inexpensive Tasco refractor, and asked me to bring it so she could view the moon.  Ralph's house was only about two blocks away, so Ralph and I started walking along Sleepy Hollow Rd toward his home on Fruithurst Dr., about halfway there, I was Egged by some Teens speeding by in their car.  I saw a white streak flying toward me, felt gooey wetness on my shirt, and thought, for a moment, I had been shot.  Strange, it didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would, but then I quickly realized it was just an egg.  Oh well, I still feel I cheated death on that auspicious night. 

We reached Ralph's house, got me cleaned up and proceeded to watch the live broadcast on one of the three main channels.  Probably CBS since they had Walter Cronkite.  I remember they gave directions on the screen for those who wanted to get a decent picture of the footage from the TV.  I think it was the most exciting time in all my life, up to that point.   We were holding our breath just like the guys at Mission Control, we were elated when touchdown was confirmed.  Of course, when Neil  hopped onto the Moon, the whole living room exploded with cheers, in fact, we could hear other people cheering next door and across the street, I think the whole world was cheering. 

A plethora of Apollo 11 souvenirs could be found at every store in the aftermath of the landing, I had a model kit of the Lunar Lander, I had a model kit of the entire Stack, I had astronaut trading cards, I had space helmets, a moon globe, and I even had one Numismatic item.  The medal you see pictured here, it is gold colored, and aluminum, and not very detailed but it is pretty cool, and it still reminds me of the night I cheated death and saw One Giant Leap for Mankind.  Thank You Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Aldrin, and Mr. Collins, you will always be heroes to me.

Where were you that night?

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Good journal. I enjoyed it very much. I was at my good friend Peter's house. The place was full. As soon as that foot hit the surface we all stood up and cheered. We didn't  realize the tremendous history that just took place and how it would affect us till this day. Thanks. Mike

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The place my father worked is the largest employer in the county of the state I lived and grew up. Every year they would host a company picnic for each of their business divisions on separate weekends during July. As an 11 year-old they hired me to clean up the grounds after the picnic. As a benefit I was allowed to attend all the picnics and get paid in cash after the work was done at the end of the day. I looked forward to these picnics every year because they had a carnival like feel to them complete with carnival rides. (All this was free to me)! They had a band and everything! As a young lad just beginning to notice the young lasses this was the place to be. (Sorry I digress, I have so many fond memories attached to this event). 

At any rate, the day the eagle landed I was working on the picnic grounds. The moment the eagle landed they announced it on the loudspeaker. I'll never forget it, that and everyone cheering! As a young boy I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I was a space nut and soaked up everything NASA. My mother purely in jest told me I didn't have to wait to become an astronaut to go to the moon, she'd send me there with one swift kick! (I knew it was in jest because she chuckled every time she said it! (Sorry, I digress again).

I never lost my love of anything associated with space. My vacation project last year was to build a Lego Saturn V rocket. Even today the completed Saturn V is proudly displayed on a stand in my living room! Unfortunately, my dream to be an astronaut went by the wayside years ago, I guess I didn't have the right stuff!

For your viewing pleasure, I have a number space related numismatic coins and medals. In fact as I speak, I am waiting on most of my Apollo 11, 50 year anniversary flight week submissions to NGC with the moon mission releases label. However, I can say my 5oz silver dollar got a 70, whoo-who! To give you a perspective of the size of the Lego Saturn V, I stood it up in relation to my front door. All the stages come apart and everything, it's really cool. Gary    




Edited by gherrmann44
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July 20 1969 I too was launched to another world. I departed McChord Air Force Base for a tour of VietNam. I didn’t arrive until the 22nd due to International Date Line and refueling. In other words, I missed the whole darn thing😖😖😖

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