What are your Apollo 11 memories? This is what KPRC viewers remember about the moon landing

Apollo Moon Landing Astronaut Neil Armstrong did something no one had ever done before. On July 20, 1969, he set foot on the moon. Now, a woman has sold the bag used for collecting moon dust for $1.8 million.

HOUSTON – What do you remember about the moon landing? That’s the question we asked our viewers and here are some of their memories of that historical moment.

“We all were so excited.”

“On July 20, 1969, we were living in Omaha, Nebraska at the time. That day was our youngest son, Mike's 7th birthday. Our whole family drove to Kansas City, that day to vacation. That evening we were sitting in the lobby of our motel watching TV and waiting to see the astronaut land on the moon. We all were so excited when we saw it happen. Our son will never forget his 7th birthday. We now have lived in Houston for 48 years.”

Bill and Nancy, Doug, Debbie, Linda, and Mike Krumel 

“We all sat transfixed”

“Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon on July 20, 1969. It was well advertised, my wife and I along with our 9-month old daughter went to a friend’s house to watch the event on a bigger TV. I had just graduated from college and was preparing to go off to become a dashing young naval officer. We all sat transfixed as Armstrong took that first step. Not more than 10 seconds later, I looked to my left and saw our daughter take her first steps from one side of her playpen to the other. That is how we can always remember that important date in her life.”

Michael Wiseman

“Congratulate us as Americans”

“My husband and I were in Cannes, France with some friends when the Apollo spacecraft landed on the moon.  The people there were so excited and wanted to shake our hands and congratulate us as Americans.  It was so thrilling to us.  We traveled to Paris a day or so later and we bought a newspaper there, which I took a picture of today and forwarded it to you.  It was a very exciting experience.”

Linda and Chuck Bice
Magnolia, Texas

“Very clear memory”

“I was about 4 1/2 and remember my mother waking me up and watching the moon landing on our black and white TV in the living room. Very clear memory!”
Leslie Crossman

“I remember the excitement”

“My father was fascinated with the space program and anything that glittered in the night sky, especially meteor showers.  I remember the excitement of him waking us up to watch the first spacewalk on television.”

Lynda Hood

“An inspiration to our family”

My cousin, Nicholas Medici, was a scientist and worked for NASA at Jet Proplusion Lab. He explained to me about his part in deciphering the pictures coming back from the moon. He passed away years ago, but he always was an inspiration to our family. 

I can’t wait to see the replication in July. We need to keep motivating our children to strive for the stars.

Cynthia Braun

“I was working”

I was working at the Space Center in a building next to Mission Control.  I was working the Apollo 11 mission. I worked the Apollo missions and later, the entire Space Shuttle Program. 

Lonnie Moffitt

“Exciting times (at KPRC 2)”

“I joined KPRC-TV in June of 1969. I was young with only three years of small market experience. Channel 2 put together live units for NBC for the various locations they wanted to cover. I took a feed of an interview with an astronaut’s wife, rewound the tape, cued the bite up quickly, looked at the air monitor, and heard Chet Huntley do the lead-in to my interview. I knew I was in big time TV. Exciting times.”

Alex Lieban

“It was such an honor for us”

“I was in the Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base when we got orders to take two of our helicopters out to the USS HORNET to assist the Marine helicopters being flown in a cargo aircraft to Johnson Island in support of President Nixon’s trip to welcome the astronauts on their return from walking on the moon for the first time. We flew out to sea and landed on the Hornet, steamed down to Johnson Island where we staged for our support mission.

When the cargo aircraft landed with the presidential helicopters, they had 41 Marines and 2 Tech Reps. Our 2 Air Force helicopters only had two crew chiefs plus the flight crew. One of those crew chiefs was me. It was such an honor for us to be chosen for this mission. I will never forget it.”

Rev. A. Gene Stapleton
Bedias, Texas

“We sneaked into a casino”

“I was on a “Europe on $7/day” adventure with my teaching buddy.  We were in Monte Carlo when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.  Not staying in a hotel with television(!), we sneaked into a casino and heard the commentary in French.  An exciting highlight of an exciting summer adventure.”
Nancy Nichols

“Drinking tonic and lime”

“I went to Europe for six weeks that summer with my student friends from St.Agnes Academy and Strake and St.Thomas. We were in Munich, Germany the night of the moon landing. I was 16 and we were in a restaurant/bar to watch while drinking tonic and lime to celebrate! What wonderful memories for all of us!”

Sharon Haidusek

“I remember how hot it was”

“I was hired as a cameraman for the first lunar landing. KPRC was the pool station for the lunar landing, and needed more camera people. I was a student at University of Houston communications school, and working as a camera and lighting man at channel 39 after school.   applied at KPRC for the job, and was hired in May of 1969. I worked in the studio on Post Oak for a couple of months.  Mainly helping light the sets for the news. I have many fond memories of Larry Rasco, Bill Enis, and Doug Johnson.  After I received security clearance to work as a cameraman during the lunar mission I was assigned to Neil Armstrong's house. I remember how hot it was sitting on a golf cart with a big GE camera opened up, so it wouldn’t over heat. I think Mrs. Armstrong came out once during the 5 days I was at this location. I felt sorry for the family, and the intrusion of many news people camped out on their lawn. My next assignment was to run camera in the room where the showing of the moon rocks would be held. I remember being warned that if there was an air leak from air tight room where the rocks were displayed, we could be put in isolation for several weeks. My only question at the time was would we get paid for that time. At the end of the two-week job, I got the largest paycheck I have ever received. We were paid for 24 hours every day, time-and-a-half after 40 hours. Not only that, we got per diem money. Many years later, I went to work for Texas Video and Post. One of the owners David Leavell and I were talking about Channel 2, and the lunar landing. I found out he was in the room with me when we showed the world the moon rocks. All of the things I saved, lunar landing button press pass, pictures of me running camera at Neil Armstrong's house were framed. To my great sorrow, this all burned up in a house fire years later. However, I still have great memories of being part of history!       
Alan Van Dix

“The best birthday present ever”

I grew up in Houston wanting to fly in space. I read science fiction and it really spoke to me. I was determined to be an astronaut, but poor eyesight and a lack of a college degree quashed that hope. I wasn’t deterred from my love of space, though. I knew all about space travel and was thrilled that Houston was going to be the headquarters for America’s venture into space. I followed every space flight, watching TV to see all I could and really looking forward to America landing on the moon.

But when Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the moon, I didn’t see it. In fact, I didn’t see any of the news reports on the whole Apollo 11 mission when it happened. I couldn’t see it because I was underwater somewhere in the far North Atlantic on a deterrent patrol on board the USS James K. Polk, a ballistic missile submarine. I was a missile technician in the Navy, the Submarine Service, from 1967 to 1976. Most of that time was on the Polk, but three years were ironically spent working at Cape Canaveral running monitoring instrumentation on board submarines for the Navy’s underwater missile firing tests there. While at the Cape, I actually walked across the launch pads for Mercury and Gemini and an empty pad 39A where Apollo 11 was launched, but I didn’t get to see the mission, just brief videos of it.

We returned to Houston in 1976, and 10 years after the flight, in June of 1979, my wife took me on the NASA tour as a birthday present. What I didn’t know was that she had told them of my absence during Apollo 11 and why and arranged with them for me to see NASA’s official version of the landing. So, after missing the original landing, I got to see the actual footage of the entire thing at NASA 10 years later. It was the best birthday present ever.

Jami Shofner

“It was a great day at sea”

I was in the U.S. Navy aboard the communications ship U.S.S. Arlington when the space capsule landed in the ocean. The pickup ship, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet, was not in close enough proximity to the splashdown point, so we had to communicate with the capsule and stay in contact until the Hornet arrived. It was an amazing day. Since the Hornet was not nearby yet President Nixon came aboard our ship to welcome the space astronauts home. It was a great day at sea, and a very memorable one.

Bobby Carter

Click here to see more of our special coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.


About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.