Apollo 11 Memory
I remember the night of July 20, 1969, very clearly for a lot of reasons. We were going to celebrate my tenth birthday a few days early because I was scheduled for surgery on my actual birthday. My Mom told me that my older brother would be taking me and my best friend to Starlight that night to see a production of “Peter Pan.” I was over the moon.
I didn’t understand the significance of that night, historically speaking. I knew that astronauts were headed for the moon. I had heard Walter Cronkite talking on TV about taking a lunar walk and how no one knew what would happen when it was attempted. However, none of this seemed as important to me as the opportunity to see the musical of the little boy who doesn’t want to grow up and seeing all those kids FLY across that stage.
I remember it was a lovely summer night. I remember thinking that Ruta Lee was kind of a funny name for someone playing the role of Peter Pan. I remember my brother leaning over and saying, “You know that’s a woman, right?” And I remember loving every minute of that musical.
At intermission, a voice came over the PA system. The man’s voice asked that we all take a moment to look up at the glowing moon in the sky just over the stage. The announcer stated that Neil Armstrong had just set foot on the moon and taken the first steps that completed America’s race to do just that. I think they even played the national anthem. I remember thinking, this must be a big deal. And I also admit that I convinced myself that when I looked up at the moon with our binoculars, I could actually see Neil Armstrong planting that American flag.
Kimberly Roembach-Ratliff, Kindergarten teacher, Shawnee Mission School District