‘This is important; they’re making history’

Area residents share memories of the moon landing

Long before the internet, iPads and smart phones, people around the world gathered around televisions and radios to hear about the Apollo 11 moon landing.

“The Eagle has landed,” were the words that signaled the successful landing of the lunar module.

Webster City area residents have some vivid memories of that historic day in July 1969 when the Lunar Module first touched down on the surface of the moon.

The Daily Freeman-Journal asked readers to share their memories of the lunar landing — where they were and what they remember.

Deborah Caruth was 12 years old at the time and remembers her parents sitting she and her sisters down to watch the televised coverage.

“‘They said this is important, they’re making history,'” she said. ” I was wondering if the world ended that day, would God find them to take them to heaven? Was it alright to leave earth?”

Caruth said it was fun to watch Armstrong and Aldrin try to walk on the moon.

“I thought if they jumped too high they may float away,” she said. “I’m so glad my parents made my sisters and I watch.”

Arvid Huisman, Daily Freeman-Journal columnist, said he and his fiance listened to the coverage of moon landing on the car radio.

“My fiance and I were driving somewhere in Hamilton County that night and we were listening to radio coverage of the event. Were I more intellectual, I would have been home watching the historical event on television,” he said. “In the summer of 1969, I was more focused on a pretty young lady.”

Janet Loughry remembers seeing the moon landing while her family was on a camping trip.

“My family of four was camping in our 16-foot Forester trailer for our one week vacation at Cutty’s Campground in Des Moines.” she said.

She was 11 at the time and her brother was 7. Back in 1969, the family didn’t have a television in the trailer but the lodge at Cutty’s had a TV.

“We all gathered around to watch the moon landing. It was a big event, and one I will never forget,” she said. “It’s hard to believe it has been 50 years already.”

Diane Vasquez remembers that she was caring for her new baby in July 1969, but didn’t miss the Apollo 11 landing.

“I was in Lawton, Oklahoma. My husband was stationed at Fort Sill,” she said. “I was living with friends. My son Michael had just been born on July 8.

“I remember feeding him as I sat glued to the TV. I also remember it was a very hot day. I just knew this was going to be the start of something great,” she said.

That historic day in July was special to Alton Crim on several levels.

“I was standing in the living room and looking at the moon,” he said. “It was a great day for we had just bought a plot of land and we were building our house. It’s a day that I will remember for a long time.”

“As a senior at ISU and a newlywed, we didn’t have a TV, so we went to my former in-laws to watch the moon landing.,” Loween Getter said.

“I remember the early days of the space program and was so excited to see President Kennedy’s challenge to send a man to the moon come true. My former father-in-law had no interest in watching it and went to bed,” she said.

What she watched on the small television screen was the same grainy footage of Armstrong and Aldrin stepping foot where no one had ever been before that is being replayed this week.

“It’s amazing to think that NASA was able to achieve that feat using the technology of the day. The excitement didn’t end there. They still needed to get off the lunar surface, back to the orbiter, and return to earth,” Getter said. “A collective sigh of relief went up when we saw the parachutes and watched them plucked from the ocean.”

Kent Harfst, acting city manager, said that even though he was only 7 at the time of the moon landing, he found it fascinating.

“I think I was young enough to not fully comprehend the accomplishment. I remember my Dad was very interested in this moment. Before becoming a principal, he was a science teacher and knew a lot about astronomy. When I was young he would share a lot of his knowledge with me about the moon, stars, constellations, and the entire universe.”