Jul 24, 2014

What Were You Doing During the First Moon Landing on July 20, 1969?

What Were You Doing During the First Moon Landing on July 20, 1969?

I was in Viet Nam counting the days till I could return to civilization in September. It was an exciting time. The Stars and Stripes newspaper gave it great coverage with articles and pictures. Where has the time gone.

Charlie Van Lierre

I remember staying up late that night and watching the moon landing and the walking on the moon. That was really something. Let's see, 45 years ago would make me 19 going on 20; I was working that summer at Belmont Food Mart, putting in about 60 hours a week and saving up for my first semester at NIU in the Fall. I was transfering from Bogan Institute of Technology.... HaHaHa!

But, the coolest thing about the Astronauts' landing on the moon, for me, was the parade a few weeks later. ABC television had the pool coverage for the big Chicago parade and Dave Noren worked for ABC-TV at the time and was asked if he knew 3 young guys who could do some work for ABC and the parade. So he got me and Jim Dart and Jim Klenk to work for 3 days, I think it was. I was given a brand new 1969 Ford Galaxy convertible to drive this Supervisory Engineer, Joe DiBonis, around checking on camera locations; crews all up and down North Michigan Avenue; I believe there were something like 17 different camera locations. I took the car home each night and picked up Joe each morning at his hotel. And, I think we got $3.00 an hour, too. I would have done it for free.

Then on the third day which was the day of the parade, I was given a brand new Ford Van loaded with upright coolers of pop and a stack of box lunches to deliver to each camera crew; some of which were on the top of buildings along Michigan Avenue. But, the camera location that was the coolest and the scariest was on top of the tallest building in Chicago - the Hancock Building. I had to go up the express elevator,100 floors, and then walk up another 3 flights of stairs to the roof. On top of the building is like a small building where equipment, etc. was stored on top. When I walked out onto the roof of the Hancock Building, it was like I was walking on the moon. I could see forever. It was unbelievably bright and windy and noisy (from the wind) and so,so high up. OMG!!! I don't do well with heights, anyway, and when I was out there, I was scared out of my wits and I came right back to that door and left the cooler and the box lunches right there. The camera crew was at the southwest corner of the roof yelling and motioning for me to bring the food and drinks to them. I, uh, said something like, " screw you!, I'm not going near that edge" and promptly went back inside and down the steps to the elevator and to the safety of the ground. I think I may have actually kissed the ground. Wow, that was such a crazy and an eerie thing. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

It was really, really scary. Oof-da, as my grandmother used to say. After finishing all my stops, I parked the Van near ABC-TV on Lake Street and watched the parade. I also watched the Van get towed away, as I had parked it in a tow zone......oops. But, what an experience and something that I'll always remember.

Dennis Carlson

I was a flight instructor working late at PalWaukee. Finished students and met other instructors @ the bar. Lots if knowledge and alcohol.

Tom Thomas

I was working at Nah Trang AB, RVN...NCOIC, Military Pay Unit... same day I got my acceptance letter from Loras College...

Charles Robert Horne

Re: Where were you????

I was in LAX airport waiting 4 my flight home from 2 weeks in California….they had tv sets in the concourses 4 everyone to c the landing…When WE landed on the moon, we all clapped and yelled!!!! it was a great day…EXCEPT…..

I almost didn’t see that happened, cause earlier in the week, i almost drowned at Marina Del Rey beach on a boogie board. I didn’t realize how powerful the ocean was… my friend saved me by grabbing’ onto the board when i was going out to SEA…was scared!!!!  linlou A.K.A. “the wild child”.. ha

Linda Lou Larson Scalia


I was studying German at the Goethe Institute in Passau, Germany and celebrated the moon landing by hosting a "Grill Fest" (Barbeque) for the students who were from all over the world. We had brats, potato salad, and managed to find marshmallows to have s'mores! They brought a TV out into the yard of the school so we could all watch the moon landing....it was amazing to share that moment with such an international group! Afterwards a couple Spanish students got out their guitars and we all sang songs from our countries. Singing "God Bless America" and "This Land is Your Land" with other American students was something I knew I would never forget. It was a beautiful evening and a special memory for me.

Marlene Walko

I saw the moon landing in a bar called the G-2 in Washington DC. I was in the Basic School, the finishing school for new Marine Lieutenants at Quantico, Virginia. We worked at a very tough pace - 16 hours a day, 5 and 1/2 days a week with no time for TV or radio or newspapers. Had little idea what was going on in the outside world, just getting ready to go to Vietnam.

I did not even know what was happening when I first saw our astronauts walking on the moon. Once I figured it out it was very cool.

President Kennedy challenged the US to go to the moon within the decade. And we did so. Amazing.

Craig Hullinger

I am one of those that does not remember what else I was doing at the time of the moon walk. I just remember watching a black and white TV with Neil Armstrong was walking around on the moon in those grainy pictures.

I do remember what I was doing in 1998. I was Chief Pilot for Delta Airlines, waiting for one of my Captain's, who was flying his retirement MD-11 flight from Europe. The practice was for the CP to meet the last flight with family and friends. (Pre 911) Once the Captain was off the plane the CP would present a plaque, cut the cake and wish everyone happy retirement.

While in my office, waiting on the flight, an older man, wearing a beat up old " Columbo type" brown raincoat was brought into my office by my secretary. The gentleman with a broad smile extended his hand and said " Hi I am Neil Armstrong". Turned out Neil was related to the MD-11 Captain and wanted to go with me to meet the flight. I checked the arrival time and the flight was 1 hour late. Never been so happy for a late flight.

So for over an hour I had a one on one in my office with Neil Armstrong. We talked about flying in general, the shuttle (another story) and family. I did not want to impose on him but asked if he would sign one autograph for an administrative assistant who had named her son Neil Armstrong K--- after him. He did not like doing autographs but he did this one willingly. Sorry I did not get two.

We were at the gate for the flight, had the party, shook hands and off he went. The next day I wished I had asked many other questions but as it was the time flew bye. I had contact information for him but never used it. Both John ( the MD-11 Captain who I stay in contact with until his passing in 2012) and Neil have taken the final flight West. I imagine they are up there sharing flying stories.

Ray Justinic

Very cool, indeed, Ray! We rarely have such unexpected moments in our lives, and you were definitely blessed to have been able to shake the hand of Neal Armstrong.

On a much lesser note, I was in LAX many years ago when it was quite small, and in walks this man and sits down at a table over there from where my then husband and I were sitting. He wore a flat top hat and was sorta looking around rather furtively like he was trying to hide himself or at least not be noticed. I recognized him right away as being Richard Kiley from "Thornbirds" fame and mentioned that to my husband. I said, "If he takes that hat off, he's somewhat balding on the top of his head." Well, he finally relaxed enough to take that hat off, and it was indeed who I thought it was.

My husband told me to go over and get his autograph, but I would NEVER want to blow his cover, shall we say. I was also up in Madison, WI in the university whatever hall, and came across some guy with his little kid walking by. He looked very familiar to me, and me being me, I went up and spoke to him. He told me that he was an actor (I can't remember his name for the life of me or exactly what he was in, I want to say he is Bradley something), and all I did was tell him I enjoyed his work and wished him a great day. Apparently he went to the UofW and was home for a visit. My only two brushes with FAME!!!!! :-)


Jim Miller Sr. I tried posting don't know if it work, I was up at Great Lakes Hospital recovering from my wounds from Vietnam, sitting around with other Vets watching a small TV that was rolled into our ward so we can watch.

Jim Miller (class Jan 66)

William Paxson I watched in on the T.V., from beginning (blast-off) to the splashdown. Don't think I slept at all.

Bill Smithson Sitting in a bunker in Vietnam. Had only been there a few weeks. Had a long time till I came home.

Leslie Cefali I was at Calumet Beach; had taken the bus there with friends, from Beverly - several transfers! It took a long time to get there. I remember being on the beach when they landed like it was yesterday!

Susan Engle Budash I was on the date from hell, launching this dork's home-made space ship in Grant Park, near Buckingham Fountain. He was an engineering student from Purdue. Chicago's finest came and were not pleased and told us to get the *#@^ out of the park. I took the Rock Island home and he went his way.

Jim Miller Sr. Susan should of been a glue how bad he was, went to Purdue

Marilyn Smithson Losik I was at a beach in Indiana with my boyfriend at the time. It was announced on a loudspeaker that they had landed, and everyone cheered. Bill - I'm sorry you had to be where you were.

Linda Martinez I was at a bar to pick up my dad. ( I don't drink)

John K. Heckler Walter Cronkite was a perfect story teller on the Trip to the Moon

Donna Thayer Stuck in traffic, coming home from Indiana Dunes.

Steve Balough Driving home from my friend's cottage in Antioch, Il. We were on the TriState north of Chicago listening on the car radio.

Toni Miller On the South Side in Beverly with Uncle Dan Howe watching TV in the garage on lawn chairs. I will never forget that day. One of so many happy days living with Margaret Howe Hannah and her (my) family.

Cynthia Langston Picnicing in the forest preserve at my dad's company picnic...they set up at TV, tho, so we could watch...must have run it off a car battery

Julie Marschand I was with two friends in a convertible when the radio announced that the men were walking at that very moment on the moon. We stopped and got out to stretch and it was a clear night so we just gazed up at the moon and tried to imagine what it was like to be up there. It was a very nice, exciting and happy feeling to be able to see it up in the sky at the moment it occurred....a one in a lifetime moment!

John Wason Was it in the summer of 1969? I seem to recall watching a good bit of it on TV, and being bored.

Sue Ellen Wilton Burckhart Think I answered this before? Was with Mary Tiegreen and my mother in our den ... we toasted the moon landing with Champagne.

Paula Hillier I was working as an Andy Frain Usherette at a Sox Game. They announced.

It on the speakers, had it on the screen and did some cool fireworks. I'll never forget it--so exciting!

Linda Larson Scalia I was in LAX airport going home to Chicago from a 2 week trip to California .... they had tv s in the concourses so wee wouldn't miss the BIG EVENT in our history!!!! When wee saw them landin' everyone broke out in cheers, clapping...and whistles....a memorial day!!!!! Almost didn't see it cause earlier in the week was on a boogie board at Marina Del Rey beach and went out too far, but my friend and traveler pulled me back in shore!!!! Never realized the ocean was SOOO powerful!!! It IS....I don't mess with the weather...when they say "severe" storms recently...I take it SERUOUSLY!!!My friend...Michele...is still my friend after over 45 years!!!

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