Michael R. Hodgson had tears in his eyes as he watched Neil Armstrong step from the bottom step of the Lunar Excursion Module.
The epic landing of Apollo 11 on the surface of the moon — witnessed by more than 600 million people in grainy black-and-white video — had a special meaning for Hodgson.
At 30 years old, he was one of the lead engineers for the Ground Support Equipment at North American Aviation, which supported the spacecraft Environmental Control System, in Florida.
“At that moment, my thoughts were focused on the monumental event being witnessed by millions of people around the world,” recalls Hodgson, who lives in Greensboro. “I was also acutely aware of the critical tasks still to be performed before the crew safely returned home.”
Frank Thiery also had his eye on the Lunar Module.
He worked on a Grumman Aerospace team that made parts for the module.
“Since he was working the night shift, Frank and his co-workers viewed the moon landing on televisions provided by Grumman in their respective departments,” emailed his widow, Eileen Thiery of Stokedale. Frank died in 2014.
Other local residents recall watching history unfold that night.
“I remember being glued to our color TV at home and being a little disappointed that the moon landing feed was in black and white,” recalls Chris Malone of Jamestown, who was 12 at the time. He later got to meet two of his astronaut heroes.
Steven Sund, then 16, got fired from his fast-food job because he ditched a work shift to watch the landing. He doesn’t regret it.
And Melvia Powell of Kimesville still has her original copy of the Greensboro Daily News heralding the moon landing. It was tucked away for posterity and rediscovered when she was cleaning out her basement last fall.
Your moon-landing memories
News & Record readers share their memories of watching the Apollo 11 moon landing 50 years ago, on July 20, 1960.
Sure, America had astronauts flying to the moon. But my parents in 1969 were expecting company, and that was the big event in our household.
1969 was already a year of wonder to me. I had recently given birth to our first child, Melissa, in June and now a month later, America was ac…
July 20, 1969, I was 21 years old and living in Aschaffenburg, Germany.
I was age 14 and with my parents on a family vacation leaving Tavares, Fla., following a visit to my grandparents. The Apollo 11 mission was m…
In July 1969, I was a junior in high school. I had followed the progress of Mercury, Gemini and then Apollo, which later inspired me to become…
As I watched Neil Armstrong step off the bottom step of the Lunar Excursion Module, I had tears in my eyes.
I was a 20-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam during that period, and on that day, July 20, 1969, my squad…
The moon landing is a very emotional memory for me. I was 27 years old and pregnant with our second child. My husband had finished graduate sc…
On that day, Apollo 11 landed on the moon! It was especially exciting since my good friend Peter and I were on a very large passenger ferryboa…