GOOD NEWS: Amarillo residents remember the Apollo 11 moon landing mission

VIDEO: Amarillo residents remember Apollo 11 moon landing mission

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - 50 years ago our nation came together and rallied behind one of the most amazing technological accomplishments in modern times.

I’ve always been fascinated with the space program. And 50 years ago this week, the nation was captivated. Apollo 11 was on the way to the moon.

The country held its breath, prayed and was literally riveted to TV, watching the event unfold.

Americans say 53-years-old or younger may only know this event from history books and documentaries. But if you’re part of my generation, you remember the event vividly. And you always will.

“Oh, I was a girlfriend’s house, watching on TV, it was pretty cool,” said Larry Wilhite.

“I mean, as a child you think is this real? Is it actually happening? I remember vividly watching on TV," said Tandy Arrant.

“I watched Neil Armstrong step on the surface of the moon and I was just completely glued to the TV. But then I walked out the front door across my grandmother’s porch and looked up at the moon,” said David Craig, PhD, an associate professor of Physics at WTAMU.

“Oh my gosh, I remember staying up late to watch it on TV, black and white. And it was just an exciting time, you know, was, things were happening. We were all excited, we couldn’t believe that somebody could really get on the moon,” said Cynthia Elders.

And for an 8-year-old boy at the time like me, it was so cool.

I remember playing with my own toy lunar landing module. But I watched the event with my grandmother, who was born in 1909. So she was around even before the first airplane. And to see the look on her face, when Armstrong stepped down on the moon, it was just priceless.

The Apollo 11 landing and man’s first steps on the moon historically has been one of Sciences greatest achievements. But it also accelerated many other technological advancements in the process.

“So much technology, through the STEM disciplines, was developed through the NASA program to get people up into space and have them be safe,” said Carolyn Bouma, PhD., an associate professor of Biology at WTAMU. “That I think maybe on like, people need to appreciate where a lot of the technology we use today comes from.”

“That whole era of the developments in that whole era, really, with the computers that were developed,” said Craig. “And with the understanding of spaceflight that was developed in ways to like precisely calculate positions in the planet. We really couldn’t do things like that without that early development.”

The Apollo 11 example of what can be accomplished with a unified nation and a common drive to succeed and reach lofty goals, should leave us desiring even more amazing endeavors.

It was good news then, and it’s good news now.

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