Today marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, becoming the first men to set foot on the Moon.
As an 11-year old boy, I watched them take those historic first steps on an old black-and-white Magnavox TV with my great aunt, Della Glover, who was born before the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. To watch space history made with someone whose life predated manned flight added to the thrill and appreciation of the moment.
Little did I dream that on the 30th anniversary of those historic steps, July 20, 1999, I would spend the day with Neil and Buzz, along with their command module pilot Mike Collins, at a private reception for them at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, and later at NASA's DC headquarters.
The small Apollo 11 flag on the NASA certificate was flown in space on the Space Shuttle Columbia on the 25th anniversary of the Moon landing. July 20, 1994. The director of NASA presented the flag to me five years earlier. On the 30th anniversary, I had both Neil and Buzz autograph and date it for me. It remains one of my treasured mementos.
God bless our Apollo 11 crew, and God bless America--the nation that conquered the Moon.