July 16, 2009

North Dakotans remember first moon landing

By Matt Hopper

Fireman. Police officer. Doctor. Forty years ago children all over the world had a new grownup job to add to that list: Spaceman. Newspapers and radios everywhere pronounced the United States’ victory. For those fortunate enough to have a black and white TV set, they could even see the grainy images firsthand. Some saw it as a mind-blowing feat, a proud achievement unlike any other. Others viewed it as a nuisance, an unwarranted reason for needless government spending. And for a few, the event provided a brief moment of reflection, recognized in passing, as they hurried through their busy days two-thousand miles away, in the prairies of North Dakota. All these being the mixed reactions to man’s first footsteps on the moon.July 16, 2009 will mark the 40th anniversary of the launching of Apollo 11. Aboard the spaceship rode veteran astronauts Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot ‘Buzz’ Aldrin. Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin would be the first two men to step onto the surface of the moon and plant the United States flag upon the ‘conquered’ orbital rock.Another event such as Apollo 11 may never happen again within the lifespan of the current populous, especially due to the increased frequency of space flights undertaken by NASA today. The space mission was one that would captivate the imaginations of individuals living nearby on Merritt Island, Florida; the site of the Kennedy Space Center where the rocket was launched. But how did it affect those settled in North Dakota?

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